Iraq troop withdrawal on schedule despite attacks

WASHINGTON — The United States is on track to complete withdrawal of its troops by the end of 2011, despite recent violent attacks which seem calculated to disrupt that timetable, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 22 Jan 2011, 1:33 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:40 PM

Suicide bombings this week have left at least 116 people dead in Iraq and injured scores more.

“These spectacular attacks are perpetrated to try to derail the process but thus far the Iraqi security forces have handled those, they haven’t asked us for assistance,” said spokesman David Lapan.

“Our plan is to still to have all our forces out by the end of the year. We’re still on our timeline,” he said.

There are still some 50,000 US troops in Iraq, where the United States formally ended its combat mission on August 31 of last year.

US military operations now are primarily focused on advising and training local forces.

The recent spike in attacks follows a months-long lull in which violence was seen to be on the decline.

The attacks come amid a spike in violence in Iraq, with at least 116 people killed and hundreds more killed in bombings in the past three days. By contrast, 151 people were killed throughout December.

In the most recent attacks, a spate of explosions across Iraq on Thursday killed at least 50 people, most of them in twin suicide car bombings in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Karbala, the third major attack in as many days.

The attacks mostly targeted pilgrims marking a Shiite holy day, and were the latest in a series of bombings that have shattered a relative calm in Iraq following last month’s formation of a new government.

Earlier on Thursday, a roadside bomb detonated among a crowd of Shiite pilgrims at the Al-Rasheed vegetable market in southern Baghdad, killing one and wounding nine.

Another such blast in a central Iraqi town killed one and injured three, an interior ministry official said.

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