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Top Iraqi General thinks US planned pull-out is too soon

Lt Gen Babaker Zebari warned that the Iraqi military may not be ready to take control for up to a de

Babaker Zebari, one of Iraq's top Generals, told a defence conference in Baghdad that the Iraqi army would not be able to ensure the country's security until 2020 and that the US should keep its troops in Iraq until then.

The Lt General said, "At this point, the withdrawal [of US forces] is going well, because they are still here, but the problem will start after 2011. The politicians must find other ways to fill the void after 2011... If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the US army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020."

The US says it is on target to end combat operations by the end of August and meet its deadline for removing all troops by the end of 2011.