U.S. Army soldiers from K Troop, Third Squadron, Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, patrol in Mosul, Iraq Tuesday, March 25, 2008. The northern city is considered by the U.S. military as the last urban stronghold for al-Qaida in Iraq. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
President Barack Obama says he'll withdraw America's combat brigades from Iraq over the next 18 months.
He made the announcement in a speech to military troops and officers at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He said his administration will "proceed cautiously" on the withdrawal and that U.S. commanders will bring it about in close consultation with the Iraqi government.
During his campaign for the presidency, Obama had advocated pulling troops out within 16 months of taking office. The timeline he announced Friday, involving roughly 100,000 troops, was two months longer. It still hastens the U.S. exit, nevertheless.
Obama also said that between 35,000 and 50,000 troops will initially remain there to help train Iraqi forces and undertake counter-terrorism missions.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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