More civilians to replace military in Iraq

By John Buckner
Federal News Radio

As troop presence in Iraq begins to

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Buchanan said there still are about 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and they are focusing on three main areas.


“To advise, train, assist and equip the Iraqi security forces,” he said. “Our second task is to continue to conduct partner counter-terrorism operations and our third task is to support and protect the civilian workers that come from the U.S. mission in Iraq and the United Nation.”

However with the withdrawal of the troops themselves being a daunting task, the withdrawal of military equipment also is an issue.

“We have been transferring equipment to the Iraqi forces for a number of years and much of it has been purchased by the Iraqi government,” Buchanan said. “Along with leaving equipment in the area, the military is working on the transfer of the control of bases as well as re-deploying equipment the Iraqi government is not buying.

The security agreement signed in November 2008 between the U.S. and Iraq, “mandates the final transition of the U.S. forces mission by the end of the [2011] ,” said Buchanan.

He added that future U.S. government relations with the Iraqi government mostly will be a “very significant civilian led effort.”

Currently, the State Department has an estimated 1,000