800 British troops being pulled out of Iraq

Monday, March 13, 2006 Britain announced Monday it will reduce its troop level in Iraq by 10 percent (about 800 troops) within the next two months. Defense Secretary John Reid said that Iraqi security forces are more capable of handling security in the country.

Reid told the House of Commons; "Our commitment to the coalition remains certain. This is a significant reduction which is based largely on the ability of the Iraqis themselves to participate and defend themselves against terrorism, but there is a long, long way to go."

During combat operations in the spring of 2003, Britain had 46,000 military personnel in Iraq. By May of 2004 the level had dropped to 18,000, and then to 8,500 by the end of 2005.

Mr Reid said that the reduction had not been prompted by escalating violence against British troops in Iraq.

U.S. military spokesman, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, said it was "each nation's prerogative and decision on how to best support the coalition effort."