Washington: US forces are on track to pull out of all Iraqi cities by the end of June in line with a deal struck with Iraq, Washington’s top commander in the country said on Friday.
“We’re basically out of all the cities except for two, Baghdad and Mosul,” General Ray Odierno said, indicating that city-based operations could wrap up by a June 30 target date.
“We are on our way out of Baghdad, and we’ve been slowly turning that over to the Iraqi security forces now for about three months,” he said.
“We still have some issues that we have to … work through in Mosul, but I think we’re on track. We should be in pretty good shape by the end of June.”
In November the Iraqi and US governments reached a deal to pull US troops out of residential areas by June 30 and out of the country by the end of 2011.
Odierno, who in April voiced skepticism that the target date could be reached, was more upbeat about Iraqi forces handling security with reduced US support.
“We still have a major operation going inside of Mosul with all forces assisting and helping out. We expect that to end here within about 30 to 45 days.
“There’s potential that they can handle the mission starting on 1 July.”
He added it is likely 20 percent of US forces currently deployed in cities would stay behind in “non-combat” roles.