US to withdraw 7,000 troops from Europe: Panetta | world | Hindustan Times
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US to withdraw 7,000 troops from Europe: Panetta

world Updated: Jan 13, 2012 08:53 IST

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The United States plans to withdraw about 7,000 US troops from bases in Europe, US defense secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday.

In an interview with the Armed Forces Press Service, Panetta said two brigade combat teams, or roughly 7,000 US troops, would be withdrawn from Europe, but rotational units would still maintain strong military presence in the region.

"The Secretary and other senior Department officials have consulted closely with our European allies on our new strategic guidance," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in an email.

"Our security commitments to Europe and to Nato our unwavering," he added.

The move is part of a 10-year defense strategy that President Barack Obama presented on January 5, giving strategic priority to the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.

"We will continue to maintain our presence both in the Middle East and Asia," Panetta said, according to the Armed Forces Press Service, an in-house defense department news service.

"Yes, we'll have the Navy and the Air Force, but in my experience, in any conflict you need to have the potential use of ground forces."