The U.S. government and the Iraqi government have agreed to develop a timeline that will place Iraq's security in its own hands within 12 to 18 months.
The announcement was made during a Baghdad news conference hosted by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in the country.
Casey said that he expected Iraqi troops would still require "some level" of U.S. support after they have taken charge of their own security. He also said that he would not hesitate to request more U.S. troops in Iraq if he felt they were necessary.
The news conference came toward the end of a month that has seen almost 90 American troops killed in Iraq. Casey told reporters that the Iraqi army had also lost 300 men during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.