President Barack Obama announced on Friday a nearly complete withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq by the end of the year.
“Today, I can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home from Iraq at the end of this year,” Obama said. “After nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over. Over the next two months our troops in Iraq–tens of thousands of them–will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.”
Obama affirmed that he has been in talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and that the Iraqi government suported the American withdrawal.
“We are in full agreement about how to move forward,” Obama said.
Although it was extended several times, the timeline for withdrawal was originally drafted under former President George W. Bush and was a key campaign promise for Obama when he was running for president in 2007 and 2008.
The military will keep about 160 servicemen and women in Baghdad to provide security for the embassy there.
Since the invasion in 2003, the war has claimed the lives of 4,478 American service members.