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U.S. ground troops in Iraq done by mid-2009: general

Posted by seumasach on July 10, 2008

Yahoo News

9th July

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. ground troops in Iraq will be mostly finished with security operations by the middle of 2009, the senior U.S. Army officer in charge of training Iraqi forces said on Wednesday.

“The ground forces will mostly be done by the middle of next year,” Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik told the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

That could be between April and August, Dubik said.

Dubik declined to say when all U.S. forces, including naval and air forces, would be finished with Iraqi combat operations. He said that would depend on when the Iraqi government completes certain tasks, such as purchasing its own aircraft.

Dubik said in January that Iraqi forces could take over security in all of the country’s 18 provinces by the end of 2008.

Dubik’s comments come as officials in Iraq raise the prospect of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces as part of negotiations over a new security deal with Washington. U.S. officials have said they oppose setting dates for withdrawal.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Kristin Roberts)

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