Major General Jeffery Buchanan praised the men and women of the 4th Infantry Division, and said the Division Headquarters is on track for return to the U.S. by the end of the month. That’s part of the plan for full withdrawal by the end of the year, but negotiations may keep some soldiers in Iraq longer.
“By and large the Iraqi people have learned to appreciate the work that we’ve done,” Maj. Gen. Buchanan told 11 News during a phone interview. “At the same time, many of them have never enjoyed what many of them view as a foreign occupation. So, they’re heartened by all the work that we’ve done to help them train Iraqi security forces.”
The General indicated, however, that Iraqi and U.S. leaders have not reached a deal to provided continued military training for Iraqi forces after the scheduled withdrawal. Iraq wants the training help, but said they didn’t want U.S. troops to have diplomatic immunity. Maj. Gen. Buchanan said it was Washington’s position that American forces should have that immunity.
Whatever happens, a small force of about 200 will remain with the U.S. Ambassador after the end of the year. This, Buchanan says, is normal.