U.S. Is Out of the Fight in Half of Iraq, Gates Says
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the steps necessary in Iraq before Washington can begin to withdraw troops are "already happening."
"Eight provinces in Iraq are already under provincial Iraqi control, where there are either no coalition forces or they are ... not involved in combat," Gates said, adding that Al-Anbar province, once one of the most violent parts of the country, appears to be the next headed in that direction.
So "what we have is half of Iraq where the transition has already been made to a different kind of role or mission for U.S. forces," Gates said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
He warned, however, that "it may take a while" for the rest of the country to get there, noting that Baghdad and Mosul are still wracked by heavy combat. He offered no timeline for the complete transition.
Posted at 1:57 PM ET on Apr 13, 2008
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