Baghdad (AP) About 3,500 U.S. troops are slated to leave Iraq in the coming weeks as the military continues to remove troops thac were part of last year's “surge.”
The soldiers are part of the third of five “surge” brigades scheduled to leave the country. The other two are expected to return to the U.S. by the end of july. The move will leave an estimated 140,000 troops in Iraq after a peak of more than 160,000.
Thirty-thousand additional troops were sent there to help stem growing violence. The troop increase is one of the factors credited for a sharp decline in violence in the country in the last 10 months.
President Bush has ordered a “pause” in troop withdrawals after surge forces are removed so security can be evaluated.