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U.S., Iraqi officials deny pullout of combat troops from Iraq before deadline

English.news.cn   2010-08-19 18:03:53 FeedbackPrintRSS

BAGHDAD, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. official from the Department of Defense and an Iraqi military officer denied that the U.S. combat troops have completed pullout from Iraq, national Iraqi television reported Thursday.

What happened was a re-organization of troops as some 4,000 soldiers had been pulled out and the rest of the combat troops will leave at the end of this month, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell was quoted by Iraqia TV as saying.

Morrell's comments came after some U.S. media said earlier that the last brigade from the combat troops has left Iraq Thursday morning, two weeks before the deadline of August 31.

Meanwhile, Mohammed al-Askari, spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry said there is no contradiction between the reports that the U.S. combat troops have pulled out and the deadline set earlier.

"Today the last combat brigade from the U.S. troops has withdrawn from Iraq. In another words, there is no complete U.S. combat unites in Iraq," Askari said.

"What we have today is 56,000 U.S. soldiers. Another 6,000 soldiers will withdraw during the coming days until the end of this month," he added.

"The U.S. combat troops withdrawal is going on smoothly and the U.S. military is handing over their bases to the Iraqi forces as scheduled," he said.

Earlier, NBC news TV footage showed a U.S. military convoy from the 4th Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division crossing the Iraq-Kuwait border. The last vehicle traversed the border at about 3:53 a.m. Thursday local time (0053 GMT) and the border gate closed behind it.

The 4th Stryker Brigade reportedly has about 4,000 troops. CNN said after it leaves Iraq, there would be two other combat brigades inside Iraq, but they are in a transition process to become non-combat units, and would take on responsibilities of training Iraqi troops.

U.S. President Barack Obama has set the end of August as the deadline to end combat operations in Iraq. Washington said that about 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq to conduct support and training missions.

Related:

Last U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq, combat mission ends Aug. 31

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The last U.S. combat brigade in Iraq has crossed into Kuwait, leaving Iraq ahead of the August 31 deadline, NBC news reported on Wednesday night.

TV footage showed a convoy from the 4th Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division crossing the Iraq-Kuwait border. The last vehicle traversed the border at about 3:53 a.m. Thursday local time and the border gate closed behind it.   Full story

Special Report: Situation in Iraq

Editor: Xiong Tong
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