WARSAW, Poland – Iraq's multinational peacekeeping force scrambled to regroup Monday after Spain's (search) announcement that it would pull out its 1,300 troops, with Albania pledging more soldiers but U.S. officials bracing for further withdrawals.
Spanish troops will leave Iraq in less than six weeks, Defense Minister Jose Bono said Monday in Madrid, but it remains unclear who will take their place. The 9,500 peacekeepers under Polish command are charged with the south-central sector, where followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are waging a bloody rebellion.
Polish officials said they thought greater United Nations involvement might help wavering countries make new troop commitments or at least follow through with what they have already promised.
"A U.N. resolution would be a great help," Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski told Poland's TVN24.