Many Iraqis have hoped for the day US troops would leave. As that day approaches, they are having second thoughts.
For six years Iraqis in this restless provincial capital have been waiting for US forces to withdraw, in the hope that the area will return to being Iraq’s sleepy rural backwater.
However, with only days to go before the last American soldiers are due to pull out of Baquba and other Iraqi cities, the residentshaving doubts.
There are fears that a premature departure will lead to a return of sectarian violence or allow al-Qaeda to re-establish itself. Many would like the Americans to remain until security is restored permanently.
“After you guys pull out from the city I don’t know what our enemies are going to do,Thaban Hassan said. The head of an Iraqi Army battalion in Baquba, he told the American soldiers gathered in his office that “safety is not 100 per cent . . . why are the Americans leaving?”