Rumsfeld on unannounced post-election visit to Iraq
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Friday made a surprise visit to US troops in the turbulent northern Iraqi city of Mosul, saying they could "go home with honour" once Iraqi forces were able to defeat insurgents.
Rumsfeld, the highest ranking administration official to visit Iraq since the country's historic elections on January 30, said training the Iraqi security forces was the crucial task that lies ahead.
He told several hundred soldiers, including some Iraqi forces gathered at Mosul's airport, that it would "take some time" but the Iraqis must prepare themselves.
"Because it is the Iraqis who are going to have to, over time, defeat the insurgents. It is their country. It is their responsibility."
"Once they have confidence and capacity and capability, our forces, coalition forces, will be able to go home. And go home with the honour you will have earned," he said.
His first stop in Mosul after arriving from a NATO meeting in Nice, France was at a combat surgical hospital where he visited a US soldier wounded by a sniper earlier this week, earning him his second purple heart medal in two months.
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