BAGHDAD, July 28 (UPI) -- Substantial U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq could begin as early as next spring, the top U.S. military leader in that country says.
Gen. George W. Casey told the Washington Post the security situation in Iraq has improved despite continued lethal attacks by insurgents.
Casey reiterated a position he had taken earlier on the possible decrease in the U.S. military presence during a one-day visit by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for meetings with Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari.
Rumsfeld did not discuss troop levels specifically during his Baghdad visit Wednesday, but he linked the overall security situation to Iraqi military training and political progress toward completing a draft constitution by next month.
"If the political process continues to go positively, and if the development of the security forces continues to go as it is going," Casey said, "I do believe we'll still be able to take some fairly substantial reductions after these elections in the spring and summer."