WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said Wednesday he asked top military commanders to draw up plans needed for a "responsible" withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
"I asked the military leadership to engage in additional planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq," Obama said in a statement one day after being sworn in as commander-in-chief.
Obama said he issued the instructions in a meeting with the US ambassador to Iraq, the US military commander in Iraq, the commander for the region and top cabinet and national security officials.
The meeting was designed "to get a full update on the situation in Iraq," Obama said.
Obama had promised during his campaign to order US troops out of Iraq within 16 months.
The new president, who opposed the Iraq war, has said he wants to redeploy thousands of combat troops from the country to Afghanistan.