US Commander Confirms Troop Cut Plans in Iraq, Afghanistan

US troops in Iraq will be down to 3,000 by end of the month

On Wednesday, Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie provided new details on troop cuts, including some of the first official specifics on cutting Iraq force levels, something the administration only brought up publicly in recent weeks.

Gen. McKenzie said that the US troop levels in Iraq, officially at 5,200, will be down to 3,000 by the end of this month. That’s an unusually fast turnaround time, and likely reflective of them wanting the cuts ahead of the November election.

He says the cuts in Iraq are based on conditions on the ground, and had been in the works for months. The first public indication from the administration was during the visit of the Iraqi PM last month.

McKenzie also offered an update on the Afghanistan drawdown, saying that the current level of 8,600 wound be down to 4,500 by late October. This figure was roughly announced in the past, but details show that they’re still on track for that.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.