Troop drawdown in Iraq on track: US commander
Forward Operating Base Cobra: The nearly two-month delay in holding Iraq`s nationwide elections will not keep American combat troops from leaving the country as scheduled by the end of August, the top US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno, said in an interview on Saturday.
"The plan that I put together originally gave me plenty of flexibility, and part of that flexibility was that the election would be delayed, so I built flexibility into our plan," he said at a military base in Iraq`s Diyala Province. "I feel comfortable that we`re on track."
Iraq was originally scheduled to hold key elections in January that will determine who will lead the country as American forces go home, but political wrangling over how to apportion votes in a law needed to carry out the balloting delayed the vote until March 7.
Under a US plan, all combat troops are slated to leave Iraq by the end of August. The remaining 50,000 US forces will be doing non-combat operations such as training.
Around early May, if the country is on stable footing, Odierno will be begin moving troops out of Iraq. There are currently about 110,000 US forces in Iraq, and Odierno said by March 7 there will be roughly 100,000 troops here.
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