Number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan exceeds total in Iraq for the first time

By Associated Press
Tuesday, May 25, 2010; A07

More U.S. forces are serving in Afghanistan than in Iraq, the Pentagon said Monday, a first since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and a reflection of the new primacy of the nine-year Afghan war.

Using figures collected Saturday, the Pentagon says 94,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan and 92,000 in Iraq. The numbers are expected to rise in Afghanistan and fall in Iraq as the Obama administration shifts the focus to what it has called the more important conflict.

At the height of the Iraq war in 2006 and 2007, the United States had 130,000 to 172,000 forces fighting there. For more than a year, U.S. forces have rarely engaged in combat in Iraq, but troop levels have remained high in part as a hedge against violence surrounding Iraqi elections. All U.S. combat forces are scheduled to leave Iraq by September.

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