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Iraqi Army Chief: Most US Troops Able To Leave By 2008 January 26, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP)–The Iraqi army will have enough equipment and strength to allow most U.S. troops to withdraw by 2008, Iraq’s army chief said Friday.

Gen. Babaker Shawkat Zebari said the Iraqi army would soon be able to provide security for its own nation and stand with the U.S. and other countries in the larger war on terror.

Zebari visited Fort Riley, Kan., to observe the training of the U.S. transition teams that are advising the Iraqi army. He also visited the commander of a brigade of soldiers that will be heading to Iraq soon. Those soldiers are part of the 21,500 additional troops sought by President George W. Bush as part of a security crackdown in Baghdad.

Through a translator, Zebari said the additional soldiers will be sufficient to restore order in Iraq.

In December, a close aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told The Associated Press that the Iraqi leader believed his troops would be able to take over security for the country by June.

Zebari watched U.S. soldiers train with others playing the role of Iraqi soldiers. He said the training was good, but he noted that successful training of Iraqi forces will require increased cultural awareness by Americans.

Maj. Gen. Carter Ham, commander for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, said he suggested that Zebari send Iraqi soldiers to the northeast Kansas post for training, and Zebari agreed it was a good idea.

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