British officials say the country's forces could begin pulling out of Iraq next March - six years after the U.S-led invasion.
defense ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday that Britain plans to
withdraw most of its more than 4,000 troops from their southern Iraqi
base in Basra. The spokeswoman also confirmed media reports that about
400 British troops will remain in Iraq to train Iraqi military officers.
reports, quoting unnamed senior defense sources, also said Britain will
transfer many of the troops to Afghanistan in order to help
international efforts against the Taliban.
Officials said Tuesday that several thousand U.S. troops will replace the British forces leaving Iraq.
British withdrawal plan is said to be dependent on security conditions
in the region. Iraq holds provincial elections in January.
British government has been negotiating with Iraq about the legal basis
on which its forces can stay in the country once its U.N. mandate
expires at the end of the year.