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March 2, 2006 3:00 AM

Training Iraqi police is key challenge for U.S. military

Establishing a professional police force to ensure domestic tranquility is vital to withdrawing the 140,000 or so U.S. troops in Iraq, according to President Bush. His administration has declared 2006 to be the year of the police, and the Pentagon plans to spend $1 billion boosting Iraqi Interior Ministry forces, most of which are police. The need for that professional force is only made more obvious by the widespread killings and mosque attacks that followed the bombing of the golden dome of an important Samarra mosque Feb. 22. Three years after the American-led invasion, the police force has improved in some places but hardly exists elsewhere, and at every level it depends heavily on the U.S. military and its allies for technology, training, equipment and logistical support.

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