Maliki: US Troops Will Pull Out By Year’s End

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said his country has no intention of asking the United States to extend its military presence in Iraq beyond the Dec. 31 deadline to withdraw all 46,000 remaining US troops, reported Agence France Presse. “The agreement on the withdrawal of American forces will be implemented on schedule by the end of the year, and there will not be any bases for US forces here,” Maliki told Al-Ittijah TV channel in an interview, according to AFP. The United States will still continue to work with the Iraqi military under a post-2011 training mission that leaders of both nations have approved, although no details have publicly surfaced yet. Maj. Gen. Russell Handy, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Iraq commander, said he expects the Air Force’s role in theater to increase as the United States completes its pullout of troops and equipment.