Troop drawdown in the works for Iraq

Jan. 30, 2008 at 3:15 PM   |   Comments

BAGHDAD, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A U.S. spokesman said military commanders are analyzing the security and reconstruction situation in Iraq to develop plans to draw down U.S. forces in the area.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said at a news conference Tuesday that military and defense officials were working to determine the effectiveness of the five-brigade troop surge and the new counterinsurgency strategy to develop plans to redeploy U.S. forces out of Iraq, the American Forces Press Service said.

Defense officials announced plans in September to bring 20,000 troops out of Iraq beginning with a brigade combat team departing in December. U.S. military officials said they plan to redeploy four additional brigades from Iraq by the end of July, but cautioned that timeframe depends on conditions on the ground.

Morrell said military commanders plan to report to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President George Bush with future recommendations, and Congress expects to hear from Army Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker in April.

Troop requirements and length of tours depend in part on the ability of Iraqi security forces to step up as U.S. forces stand down, Morrell said.

"The Iraqi forces clearly have the will and the capability to fight. We've seen that time and time again. Where they are lacking are in their logistical capabilities. And that is precisely the kinds of services that are provided by … our support forces," he said.

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