US military urges Iraqis, Kurds to avoid violent escalation

WASHINGTON - The US military said on Monday its commanders in Iraq were urging Iraqi and Kurdish forces to avoid escalation and played down reports of fighting, after Iraqi government forces responded to a Kurdish vote on independence by capturing the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning declined to speculate on whether the United States might cut off military aid and training to Iraqi forces in the event a major conflict, saying: "I'm not going to speculate on that but I will tell you that we're looking at all options for planning considerations ... We encourage dialogue."
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