April 14, 2009

US combat troops may stay in northern Iraq after a deadline for them to pull back by the end of June has passed, the top US commander in the area has said.

[efoods]Col Gary Volesky said his soldiers would stay in Mosul and other nearby cities where al-Qaeda remained a threat if the Iraqi government asked them to.

US and Iraqi officials describe Mosul as al-Qaeda in Iraq’s last major urban stronghold in the country.

Barack Obama has said he wants all US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

“If the Iraqi government wants us to stay we will stay,” said Col Volesky in a teleconference with journalists.

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