The prime minister of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region says the hasty withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq would be catastrophic for the country and the region.
Nechirvan Barzani told VOA Kurdish service in an exclusive interview Saturday that people should not underestimate the progress that has been made in Iraq since U.S. forces toppled Sadam Hussein in 2003. He said Iraq is a special situation that requires patience.
Mr. Barzani met U.S. President George Bush in Washington Friday.
Mr. Barzani said Iraq's Kurdish regional government is committed to fighting terrorism. But he said the conflict in northern Iraq between neighboring Turkey and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, requires a political solution.
Turkey and the United States consider the PKK a terrorist organization.
In recent months, Turkish forces have attacked Iraq's Kurdistan region to drive out PKK fighters taking refuge there.
The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast for nearly 25 years.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.