US to maintain troop levels in Iraq until spring

September 19, 2006 18:53

The US will likely maintain or increase the current force levels of more than 140,000 troops in Iraq through next spring, the top US commander in the Middle East said Tuesday. Gen. John Abizaid, commander of US Central Command, said military leaders would consider adding troops or extending the Iraq deployments of other units if needed. Abizaid said that right now the current number of troops "are prudent force levels" that are achieving the needed military effect. Late last year, military leaders had said they hoped to reduce troop levels to about 100,000 by the end of this year.

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