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US halts troop withdrawals from Iraq -

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VIRGINIA TRIOLI: President Bush has suspended American troop withdrawals from Iraq indefinitely,
following a report to congress this week from his top general there.

While promising the war would not be endless, the President's order effectively keeps troop numbers
in Iraq at 140,000 until the end of his term in office early next year.

GEORGE W BUSH: General Petraeus says he'll need time to consolidate his forces and assess how this
reduced American presence will affect conditions on the ground before making measured
recommendations on further reductions. And I've told him he'll have all the time he needs.

The President also ordered future combat tours for those serving in Iraq to be cut from 15 months
to 12.

Other senior US military officials testifying before a congressional committee today say American
forces are at full stretch.

MIKE MULLEN, US NAVY: We cannot now meet extra force requirements in places like Afghanistan. We do
what we can. But doing what we can in Afghanistan is not doing all that we should.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Democrat presidential candidates criticised President Bush's decision to suspend
the troop withdrawals.