A senior U.S. military official says he expects Iraqi security forces
to be able to fight on their own without support from U.S. ground
troops as early as next April.
Army Lieutenant General James Dubik spoke Wednesday in testimony before
the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
Dubik, the senior U.S. military officer in charge of training Iraqi
forces, told lawmakers that the quality of Iraq's security units has
improved since he assumed his post in June 2007.
Dubik predicted that Iraqi ground forces will become fully capable for
combat between April and August of next year. But, he says, the U.S.
military may still have to provide air support because Iraq's
government has yet to purchase aircraft and complete other tasks.
Dubik declined to say when Iraqis would be able to take full control of the country.