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US Officials Defend Troop Pullout From Iraq

November 15, 2011

VOA News

The top U.S. military officer says he is concerned about the future of Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. forces, but agrees with President Barack Obama's decision to pull troops out of the country by the end of the year.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also testified. He told the committee that he believes Iraq is equipped to deal with the challenges it faces, including attacks by extremists, conflict between political factions, and external defense.

President Obama announced his troop withdrawal decision in October after negotiations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Obama said he and Maliki agreed on the decision.

Before the announcement, the possibility had remained that U.S. troops would extend their presence in the nation past the December 31 deadline set in 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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