Australia’s new leader says the nation's combat troops will be out of Iraq by mid-2008, the Guardian reports. Kevin Rudd will make good on a campaign promise to pull out troops, a move that marks a sharp shift from the polices of his predecessor, John Howard, a key Bush ally. Rudd will meet the US ambassador soon to discuss the pullout.
Australia has about 1,600 troops in or around Iraq, and several hundred non-combat forces will remain after the withdrawal to provide security for diplomats. The 1,000 Australian troops in Afghanistan will remain for the time being. Poland’s new defense minister also announced a 2008 pull-out from Iraq this week.