by Xu Yanyan, Song Dan
BAGHDAD, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- "I guess we are 70 percent ready to defend our country, it will be better after the U.S. troops leave," said a Iraqi army official, who, as usual, patrols at a checkpoint in central Baghdad in a summer, just days ahead of the full withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
In an interview with Xinhua, the official, who was called Captain Sabah by his colleagues, said he is optimistic about the future of Iraq after the U.S. soldiers leave and he is confident that the Iraqi forces could handle the terrorist threat independently.
Sabah said most of the soldiers believe the U.S. pullout will do good to the fight against terrorism, as the terrorists, who had described Iraq as an invaded country, would lose their excuses as well as their targets.
In the past years, with the air and intelligence support from the United States, the Iraqi forces launched dozens of major attacks against the country's al-Qaida, killing such top figures as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Abu Ayub Musri.
The Iraqi forces proved themselves through these missions, said Saif Ahmed, an Iraqi soldier patrolling with Captain Sabah.
"We can control the country after the U.S. troops pullout, but there are many things to be done, we need more equipment, more soldiers and high-tech weapons, because the (terrorist) threat is too big and it has threatened so many countries," he added.
Temperature was sometimes as high as 50 degrees centigrade, however, the Iraqi soldiers searching the passing by cars for explosives, had never complained.
However, many Iraqi have concerns about whether their own soldiers are capable of fighting terrorists and protecting the country, as a series of major bombings targeting government buildings, foreign embassies and press took place since the end of last year.
Worse still, the Iraqi soldiers are now the main target of Qaida insurgents. It was only several days ago when a suicide bomber struck an Iraqi army recruitment center, killing 60 people and wounding 129 others.
Some Iraqi soldiers say they have problems but will improve in the future after more training.
"We have problem," said private Omar Alaa, adding but "the Iraqi forces proved itself in so many fields."
"We have confidence, we need more military training except for physical training until we are able to protect the country fully. Now and in the future, we can defend the country from any threat, we have the strength to fight, we are prepared to be better by training more," the soldier said.
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