NPR.org, March 8, 2009 · The U.S. military in Baghdad has announced it will be withdrawing 12,000 American troops in the next six months.
In a statement, the U.S. military said that two brigade combat teams who were scheduled to redeploy in the next six months along with enabling forces such as logistics, engineers and intelligence will not be replaced.
That would reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq — currently around 140,000 — by around 12,000. A U.S. combat brigade typically has 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers.
The announcement is an initial step in President Obama's plan to end combat operations in Iraq by August 2010. Beyond this drawdown, U.S. troop strength is not expected to be significantly reduced this year.
Iraq still has to conduct crucial national elections at the end of the year. And while violence is dramatically down, there are still daily attacks — a suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday outside Baghdad's main police academy, killing and wounding dozens.
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