US considering recall of more troops from IraqJuly 13th, 2008 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS
New York, July 13 (IANS) The US is considering the withdrawal of additional combat forces from Iraq beginning September, following pressing need for more troops in Afghanistan in the face of intensified insurgency by Taliban, the New York Times reported Sunday. By the time President George W. Bush leaves office Jan 20, at least one and as many as three of the 15 combat brigades stationed in Iraq could be recalled or scheduled for recall, the daily said Sunday, citing US administration and military officials.
The idea to move out quickly from Iraq reflects the view of many in the Pentagon who want to ease the strain on the military and to free more troops for Afghanistan and potentially other missions, it reported.
More US and allied troops died in Afghanistan at the hand of Taliban and other fighters than in Iraq in the last two months, a trend that continued this month.
Yet, the most optimistic course of events would still leave 120,000 to 130,000 American troops in Iraq, down from the peak of 170,000 late last year, the Times said.
The paper added that any troop reduction announced in the heat of the presidential election could blur the sharp differences between the candidates - John McCain and Barack Obama - over the issue. McCain, an avid supporter of the current strategy in Iraq, will benefit a little as any reduction would indicate that the strategy has worked.
Security in Iraq has improved vastly. Violence and attacks on US-led forces have dropped to the lowest levels since early 2004.
“As the Iraqi security forces get stronger and get better, then we will be able to continue drawing down our troops in the future,” Secretary of Defence Robert M. Gates has said.
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