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Friday marked the first day Iraq took charge of its own security in Baghdad since the US-led invasion to topple former leader Saddam Hussein more than seven years ago. James Kim has more.
As of Friday, an estimated 52-thousand US soldiers are still in Iraq. The US plans to withdraw all combat forces by August 31st, leaving only 50-thousand troops to help train Iraq's security forces. Meanwhile, a small number of troops from special forces will continue to help Iraqis hunt for militants.
General Nasier Abadi, Iraqi Deputy of Security, said, "The thing is that the Coalition, there are 50,000 left here until the end of 2011 and those troops will be training, continue the training because we have bought the Abram tanks, we have bought some T6's and some other aircraft are coming. And they will help out with the training plus advising whenever we need advice and supporting whenever we need support, like when we were in Basra we needed support and they were there for us in Basra and now should we need support, especially electronic intelligence, we lack that."
Earlier on Thursday, a line of heavily armored American military vehicles lumbered past the barbed wire and metal gates marking the border between Iraq and Kuwait.
Their headlights twinkling in the pre-dawn desert.
They were members of the US Army's 4th Stryker brigade.
Based in Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and named after the vehicle that delivers troops into and out of battle, the Stryker brigade lost 34 troops in Iraq.
Scatterings of troops still await departure, and some 50-thousand will stay for another year in what is referred to as "Operation New Dawn" in a designated noncombat role.
They will carry weapons to defend themselves and accompany Iraqi troops on missions, but only if requested.