By Ross Colvin, Reuters, February 1, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told Americans on Sunday a substantial number of the 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq would be home within a year, saying Iraqis were now ready to take more responsibility for their own security.
In an interview with NBC television, Obama praised the provincial elections held in Iraq at the weekend, the most peaceful polls since U.S.-led forces invaded in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein.
The Obama administration has launched a comprehensive review of America's strategy in Afghanistan, where NATO-led forces are struggling to cope with spiraling violence and a resurgent Taliban militancy.
The administration is considering almost doubling the U.S. force in Afghanistan from 36,000 to more than 60,000 within 18 months.
Obama, who held talks with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon last week, has said he wants a responsible and phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The United States signed a military deal with Iraq last year that set a 2011 deadline for U.S. forces to quit the country.