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US says troops could quit Baghdad soon

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Demetri Sevastopulo
Financial Times
Tuesday, Sept 3, 2008

General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, said declining violence in Baghdad raised the possibility that American combat troops could leave the capital by next summer.

Asked in an interview with the Financial Times whether it was feasible that US combat forces could leave Baghdad by July, he said: “Conditions permitting, yeah.”

His comments come as the US and Iraq hammer out the final details of a long-term security agreement that reportedly outlines a potential timeline for US combat troops to leave Iraqi cities by next summer, and the country by 2011.

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“The number of attacks in Baghdad lately has been, gosh, I think it’s probably less than five [a day] on average, and that’s a city of seven million people,” said Gen Petraeus.

While declining to comment on the details of the security agreement, Gen Petraeus said US combat forces had already pulled back from cities in 13 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. The sight of US soldiers exiting Baghdad would be highly symbolic given the scale of violence that gripped the city in 2006 and 2007.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 12:34 pm

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