TOTAL COALITION FORCES AND US TROOPS IN IRAQ (MAY 2003 – NOVEMBER 2011)
|Data source: Brookings Iraq Index|
The US-led invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 with a force of 150,000 American troops and 23,000 soldiers from other countries involved in the initial campaign.
The capital, Baghdad, fell to coalition forces 20 days later, toppling Saddam Hussein’s government. Later that year, Saddam was seized and captured near his hometown of Tikrit.
Coalition troop levels in Iraq remained fairly static throughout the first two years of the occupation.
However, in 2006 the number of US soldiers fell to just under 127,000, with the number of foreign soldiers at around 20,000.
An escalation in insurgent activity near the end of the year – the same time of Saddam’s execution for charges of crimes against humanity – prompted then-US president George W Bush to propose a surge of 21,500 additional troops into the country in January 2007.
By October that year, there were 171,00 American fighters in Iraq and 12,000 soldiers from other nations.
By the end of 2008, the total number of foreign troops in the country – including US soldiers – stood at just over 151,000.
In February 2009, new US President Barack Obama announced that the US combat mission in Iraq would end by August 31, 2010. The final withdrawal of all US forces would take place at the end of 2011.
The withdrawal of foreign troops began, with the total number of remaining soldiers standing at just under 50,000 by August 2010.
In 2011, six months before the final withdrawal, there are around 45,000 American troops in Iraq, responsible for training and advising the Iraqi forces in anticipation of the change.