Latest News/Washington: US troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year, President Barack Obama has announced, he said complete withdrawal from the country, nearly nine years after the invasion under President George W Bush.
The US and Iraq were in full agreement on how to move forward, Mr Obama said, adding: ” The US leaves Iraq with our heads held high.”
For months, U.S. and Iraqi officials had been negotiating the terms of an accord that would have kept several thousand U.S. troops in Iraq for special operations and training beyond the year-end deadline set by the George W. Bush administration.
But Obama and Maliki, who have never developed much personal chemistry, failed to reach agreement on the legal status of U.S. troops who would stay in Iraq beyond Dec. 31. As a result, only a contingent of fewer than 200 Marines assigned to help protect the large U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad will remain, along with a small number of other personnel to provide training related to new military sales and other tasks.
“The rest of our troops in Iraq will come home,” Obama said Friday at the White House, adding that they will “be home for the holidays.” / Agencies