President Barack Obama is set to issue an order to withdraw the bulk of US military forces from Iraq by August 2010, the New York Times reported Wednesday, citing senior administration officials. The order would give the American military 19 months to pull out, three months more than the promise Obama made while campaigning for president in 2008.
However, tens of thousands of US troops would remain "to continue training Iraqi security forces, hunt down foreign terrorist cells and guard American institutions," the Times reported. There are currently 142,000 US troops in Iraq.
US military commanders had reportedly been split on the pace of withdrawal, with General Raymond Odierno, the top US military commander in Iraq, pushing for the longer option.
Obama is yet to made a final decision, administration officials told the Times, but could complete the review and declare the plan later this week. Obama "has been struck by the fact that there has been a meeting of the minds in a lot of ways among his military advisers about what would be a safe and responsible way to redeploy our troops while protecting our interests in Iraq," an unnamed US senior administration official told the Times.