Bush: 8,000 troops to leave Iraq by February

Politics Materials 9 September 2008 05:21 (UTC +04:00)
Bush: 8,000 troops to leave   Iraq by February

( dpa ) - The United States plans to bring another 8,000 troops home from Iraq by February while expand its military presence in Afghanistan, President George W Bush was to announce Tuesday.

The Iraq force reductions were recommended by General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, due to a sharp drop in violence in Iraq over the last several months, Bush will say, according to prepared remarks released late Monday.

"While the enemy in Iraq is still dangerous, we have seized the offensive, and Iraqi forces are becoming increasingly capable of leading and winning the fight," Bush will say in an address at the National Defense University in Washington.

The reduction in Iraqi force needs will allow a US Marine battalion to head to Afghanistan in November instead of Iraq. Another US Army brigade will head to Afghanistan in January, Bush will announce.

Earlier this summer, the US military cut Iraq combat tours from 15 months to 12 months, with the expiration of a 16-month surge of 20,000 extra troops, part of a strategy credited with reducing violence.

It had been unclear until now whether any further withdrawals were planned before Bush leaves office in January. Bush had promised to cut back on the US presence based on a policy of "return on success."