Iraq: 3,500 American troops to leave
The U.S. military said on Tuesday 3,500 troops sent to Iraq last summer as part of the so-called surge will soon be leaving. A military statement released said the soldiers will redeploy to the U.S. in the coming weeks.
All of the troops sent in as part of the surge were expected to leave Iraq by this July, but U.S. commanders are asking for a "pause" in redeployments so they can assess the security situation as soldiers leave.
"The continued draw down of surge brigades demonstrates continued progress in Iraq," US commander Brigadier General Dan Allyn said in the statement. "After July, commanders will assess our security posture for about 45 days and determine future force requirements."
Washington has said it wants to complete a withdrawal of the 30,000 troops by July and have a 45-day evaluation period before considering the overall level of US troops.
According to AFP, US military officials said the number of American troops currently deployed in Iraq was 156,000 while another 10,000 troops from other coalition member states were also on the ground.