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U.S. Forces Look Into Leaving Iraqi Cities

The top U.S. commander in Iraq said on Thursday he was looking at whether he could pull his troops out of some cities and would do so right away if it was clear local security forces were ready to take over. “We would be willing to do that immediately if those conditions existed anywhere in the country,” said Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of the 150,000-strong U.S.-led task force charged with stabilizing postwar Iraq. “We are looking at that right now to see if there are some cities where… the capacity is already in place and we’d be more than glad to begin to move out of there,” he said. Sanchez told a news briefing U.S. troops would move to locations outside the cities but would still be ready to assist local police and other security forces as necessary. The general’s comments came amidst a drive by Washington to accelerate the transfer of security duties to Iraqis as daily guerrilla attacks on U.S. forces show no signs of subsiding and the financial cost of occupying Iraq mounts. Full Story

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