Petreaus says more Iraq withdrawals soon

Jan. 9, 2009 at 2:43 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Gen. David Petreaus, head of the Central Command of the U.S. Army, says there soon could be further reduction of American troops in Iraq.

Petreaus told reporters in Washington that progress made in Iraq may be less fragile and more durable than he had estimated six months ago, further indicating a speed-up in troop withdrawals, The Voice of America reported.

"In so many respects this coming year is a year of transition," he said, "not just with the security agreement but also our forces will transform into a support, advisory, assistance role over the course of the year ahead, as we are also reducing the numbers of our forces."

Petreaus declined to answer directly when asked if he thinks he can meet President-elect Barrack Obama's 16-month timeline for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. He said only that more reductions are on the way soon.

"We have gone from 20 ground maneuver brigade combat teams down to 14," he said. "There are additional recommendations that we're examining right now that in the weeks ahead will probably surface. And we'll see where we go from there."

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