Pentagon calls off Iraq troop deployment

Oct. 19, 2009 at 2:24 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. defense officials say the improving security situation in Iraq has prompted the cancellation of a planned deployment of 3,500 soldiers.

On Monday, Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, called off the deployment of an Army brigade that was set to deploy to Iraq in January, the U.S. Armed Forces news service reported.

"This (decision) is based on General Odierno's assessment of the security environment in Iraq," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters in Washington. "It reflects the continuing improvements in the ability of the Iraqi security forces to be able to safeguard their people as well as their institutions."

Whitman said there are no plans to send the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team to Afghanistan or anywhere else at the moment. He said the troops instead will continue training and honing their skills, awaiting a new mission.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is reported to be requesting up to 40,000 additional troops to battle Taliban insurgents there, but the Pentagon says no decisions have been made.

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