American combat troops could be pulled out of Baghdad within 10 months because of diminishing violence in the Iraqi capital, General David Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq, said in an interview published on Thursday. Petraeus's remarks to the Financial Times newspaper came as the United States and Iraq seek to finalise a security pact that will govern the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq after a United Nations mandate expires at the end of the year.
Currently, there are some 145,000 American soldiers in Iraq and Petraeus was referring in his interview to the 16,000 stationed in Baghdad, the paper said. Asked whether it was feasible that U.S. combat forces could leave Baghdad by July, Petraeus said: "Conditions permitting, yeah.
"The number of attacks in Baghdad lately has been ... I think it's probably less than five (a day) on average, and that's a city of seven million people," he added.