The Obama administration will withdraw all but 160 American troops from Iraq this year, abandoning a plan to keep troops there past a deadline set for the end of the year, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
The Pentagon was considering keeping up to 5,000 troops in Iraq next year, in order to train Iraqi forces. The 160 American troops that will remain are attached to the U.S. embassy, the AP reported.
"We remain committed to keeping our agreement with the Iraqi government to remove all of our troops by the end of this year," Pentagon Spokesman George Little said in a statement. "At the same time we're building a comprehensive partnership with Iraq under the Strategic Framework Agreement including a robust security relationship, and discussions with the Iraqis about the nature of that relationship are ongoing."
The withdrawal deal could allow future, albeit limited, U.S. training missues in Iraq, according to the AP.
But Little stressed that talks are not finalized yet.
"Suggestions that a final decision has been reached about our training relationship with the Iraqi government are wrong," he said. "Those discussions are ongoing."