Gates: Some US troops may be leaving Iraq early - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Gates: Some US troops may be leaving Iraq early

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ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRPLANE (KWWL) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he sees "some chance of a modest acceleration" in the pace of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Gates told reporters aboard his plane that perhaps one combat brigade would come out of Iraq ahead of schedule. He did not give a precise timetable.

During his visit to Iraq, Gates spoke with Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. general in the country. Gates says Odierno told him the security situation in Iraq is going better than expected.

President Barack Obama has announced plans to withdraw American combat forces from Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, leaving 30,000 to 50,000 U.S. troops in advising and training roles until the end of 2011.

U.S. officials had been worried that last month's scheduled handover to Iraqi security forces might erode security gains that had already been made.

Online News Director Nate Leding

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