President Barack Obama has announced that all US troops will withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011. He made his announcement at the White House after a videoconference with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
It has been almost nine years since the former US president George W Bush sent the troops to Iraq, and now president Obama has ordered a complete withdrawal. He said: “In the next two months our troops will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.”
He also added: “The US leaves Iraq with our heads held high.”
At its peak in 2008, the number of US troops in Iraq was 165,000. Currently, around 39,000 troops remain in the country.
Since 2003 there have been more than 4,000 deaths in the American military in Iraq, according to the Department of Defence.
Obama was sure to pledge ongoing assistance as well as a “strong and enduring partnership” with the Iraqi government. He explained that the withdrawal came amid changes in priorities for the American Military, which included a troop drawdown in Afghanistan, and new political realities in the Middle East and Africa.