AP Exclusive: Kuwait may host US Iraq backup force

September 8, 2011 - 4:35 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say the Obama administration is considering the possibility of staging American troops in Kuwait next year as a backup or rotational training force for Iraq after the Pentagon completes the scheduled withdrawal of its current 45,000-strong force from Iraq in December.

The proposal has not yet been publicly announced. It is among a number of options the administration is considering for extending its military training role in still-violent Iraq, whose divided government has been reluctant to directly ask Washington to keep troops on its soil beyond this year.

All troops are to depart Iraq by Dec. 31 under a 2008 security agreement, but senior U.S. officials are concerned that without more training the Iraqi forces may squander hard-won security gains.