October 16, 2011


WASHINGTON — The Pentagon denied reports Saturday that the US military has given up on plans to keep several thousand troops in Iraq after a year-end deadline, saying talks with Baghdad were still underway.

US and Iraq officials have been negotiating a possible American military training mission of about 4,000 troops after 2011, but a dispute over legal protections for the US forces has jeopardized the security agreement.

The Associated Press, citing unnamed officials, reported that Washington had abandoned the plan for a contingent of several thousand troops and instead would have only a small team of 160 attached to the embassy in Baghdad.

In a statement to reporters, Pentagon press secretary George Little denied the negotiations had collapsed, saying the Obama administration had not made any decisions on a future mission.

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