Top US commander sees more troop cuts in Iraq

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:02 am ICT by admin  

Washington, May 22 (DPA) The top US commander in Iraq said Thursday he would likely recommend additional withdrawals of American troops this fall. “My sense is that I will be able to make a recommendation at that time for some further reductions,” General David Petraeus told a Senate committee.

Petraeus told lawmakers last month that he needed a 45-day evaluation period that would last into September to determine if additional withdrawals can take place once President George W. Bush’s troop surge ends in July.

The end of the troop buildup will leave 140,000 US soldiers in Iraq. Petraeus said Thursday that he now believes the security conditions in Iraq will permit for more pullouts, but he did say how many soldiers can be ordered out.

Petraeus was testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee over his nomination by Bush to became the head of US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, South Asia and parts of Africa.

General Ray Odierno, a veteran of the Iraq conflict, was also testifying as part of his confirmation to replace Petraeus.

Petraeus appeared before Congress in early April to update lawmakers on the progress that has been made under the troop surge, but his recommendation for the 45-day pause in troop reductions did not go well with Democrats pushing for an end to the US role in the fighting.

Senator Carl Levin, the Democratic chairman of the committee, said Petraeus plan to seek additional withdrawals in September was “good news.”

The Senate is expected to confirm Petraeus and Odierno to their new posts.

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