U.S. deploys 34,000 troops
in Kuwait through March

Friday, July 25, 2003

The United States said it has deployed 34,000 troops in Kuwait.

It was the first time a senior U.S. military commander provided a figure for the U.S. military presence in Kuwait. The United States has 156,000 troops in Iraq, about 133,000 of them from the army.

U.S. officials said the augmented military force in the sheikdom will be maintained for an indefinite period amid the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. The officials said the troops are required to secure the northern Persian Gulf and reinforce the British presence in southern Iraq.

Gen. John Keane, acting U.S. Army chief of staff, told a Defense Department briefing on Wednesday that the U.S. Army maintains 34,000 troops in Kuwait. Keane said this does not include forces from other U.S. services as well as those from Britain.

"From Kuwait, we have 34,000 troops," Keane said.

Officials said the force level in Kuwait is expected to be maintained until at least March 2004. They said another review of the force will take place by the end of 2003.

Keane said the army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is based in western Iraq near the borders with Jordan and Syria. He said the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault has been deployed near the Iraqi border with Iran, Syria and Turkey.

Officials said the army has developed a force rotation plan that will maintain troops in Iraq and Kuwait for the next year. They said multinational forces expected to comprise at least two divisions will replace many of the U.S. troops.

Keane said the 101st Airborne Division will be replaced by a multinational division. He did not provide a time frame.

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