|Iraqi Lt. Gen. Babaker Zebari: Reuters|
Iraq's top army officer has criticised as premature the planned US troop withdrawal by the end of next year.
Lt Gen Babaker Zebari warned that the Iraqi military might not be ready to take control for another decade.
The US says it is on target to end combat operations by the end of August and meet its deadline for removing all troops by the end of 2011.
It has 64,000 soldiers in Iraq. About 50,000 will remain until 2011 to train Iraqi forces and protect US interests.
Gen Zebari's warning echoes the remark by Saddam Hussein's former Foreign Minister Tarik Aziz last week that the Americans were "leaving Iraq to the wolves".
But the White House says President Barack Obama is satisfied with the progress made in Iraq, which will allow US troops to transfer security to local forces as planned.
(click here to read the full story on the BBC News website)