Iraq bombings won't affect withdrawal plans, Clinton says
The recent spate of bombings throughout Iraq will not disrupt the timeframe for beginning the withdrawal of US troops, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday, DPA reported.
"We see nothing that would in any way interfere with our timetable for withdrawing American troops," Clinton said at a press conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was making his first visit to Washington since taking office.
Despite the bombings, al-Qaeda has been overall weakened in Iraq and the bombings have shown no sign of destabilizing the government or provoking backlashes between Iraq's ethnic groups, Clinton said.
"We are not worried about the ability of the Iraqi people and their institutions to work together to overcome the threat that the extremists are constantly presenting them with," Clinton said.
A series of bombings in numerous cities have killed more than 100 people in the last week. The most recent came on Friday, when nine people died in a blast in the northern city of Nineveh.
US President Barack Obama has set the end of August as the deadline for the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq, or about half of the 94,000 US soldiers in the country.
The remaining soldiers will be tasked with training and executing special counter-terrorism missions, with all of them scheduled to be out by the end of 2011.