American troops leave Iraq after nine years

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American troops leave Iraq after nine years

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Nearly nine years after George W. Bush launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to topple Saddam Hussein, the last US troops have left the country for Kuwait.

The war was initially fought to disarm Saddam of weapons of mass destruction. But those weapons were never found.

The conflict left at least 100,000 Iraqis and 4,500 Americans dead. It cost the United States nearly one trillion dollars, or 760 billion euros.

President Barack Obama had vowed to pull out US soldiers by the end of 2011 — a deadline previously agreed by his predecessor Bush.

A deal for US troops to stay on and train Iraqi forces fell apart as both countries failed to agree on the issue of legal immunity.

Earlier, the American military signed a deal to hand over its Camp Adder air base.

The pullout means the Iraqi government will now assume full responsibility for security.

That will the main challenge for the country’s new leaders amid continued insurgent attacks on government and security officials.