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Obama marks end of Iraq War, lauds 'extraordinary' troops

December 15, 2011 13:25 IST

United States President Barack Obama has marked the end of the Iraq War by lauding the "extraordinary achievement" of his country's troops.

He paid tribute to the slain soldiers and their families in a speech at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

"Tomorrow, the colours of the United States Forces Iraq, the colours you fought under, will be formally cased in a ceremony in Baghdad. Then they will begin their journey across an ocean back home," the BBC quoted Obama as saying.

"As your commander-in-chief and on behalf of a grateful nation, I am proud to finally say these two words -- welcome home, welcome home, welcome home," he added.

His statement came in the wake of the withdrawal of remaining 5,500 American troops from Iraq. The move has been slammed by Obama's critics as a 'premature move'.

Obama had always opposed the Iraq War and had vowed to end it in his 2008 presidential election campaign.

Though he admitted that the post-war situation in Iraq was not perfect, he said US was leaving behind "a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people".

He assured the soldiers that he would find a suitable job for them back home, and the US would continue supporting Iraq.

The Iraq War, which was launched in 2003 by former US President George Bush's administration, later came under the scanner after claims alleging that former President Saddam Hussain was backing Al Qaeda turned out to be fallacious.

Source: ANI