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Pentagon sees possible troop reduction in Iraq by 2006: report

AFP | April 11 2005

Top US military commanders believe that security improvements in Iraq can lead to significant US troop reductions by early 2006, the New York Times reported Monday.

The reduction is due to progress in fighting insurgents and in training Iraqi security forces, the Times reported, citing what they say is a consensus emerging among top military brass and civilian Pentagon officials.

Officials however remain cautious, noting that there are still between 12,000 and 20,000 determined insurgents in Iraq.

Attacks on US-led forces in Iraq have dropped to between 30 and 40 a day from a high of 140 a day ahead of the January 30 elections. And attacks now are mostly aimed at Iraqi civilians and security forces, according to the Times.

"We're on track," General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the newspaper. He warned however that the insurgency "kills virtually every day," and that it is "still a very potent threat."