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U.S. to continue with troop withdrawal plan despite rising violence
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08:51, April 03, 2008

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 U.S. commander in Iraq warns against faster troop withdrawal
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The increasing violence in Iraq recently will not halt the U.S. troops from withdrawing from the country through July as planned, said a top military official on Wednesday.

The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, told a Pentagon press conference that recent violence in Baghdad and Basra would not change plans to withdraw five more combat brigades from the country.

However, the Pentagon would stop withdrawals to assess the security situation after the end of July, he added.

"Right now we're still on track for the fifth brigade to come out, the last of the surge brigades to come out, by the end of July and then the period of consolidation and evaluation will take place."

Mullen also appraised the Iraqi security forces for its operation to run after militiamen in the southern city of Basra and positive intent to put down the violence.

U.S. troops has provided logistical help to the Iraqi counterparts in the way of intelligence and air support, and sent U.S. special advisers to the Iraqi forces during the offensive, he added.

According to government statistics issued Tuesday, some 1,080 people, including 923 civilians, died from all kinds of violence in March, up by nearly 50 percent from the previous month.


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