US redeploys troops to Afghanistan
President George Bush says 8,000 troops will be withdrawn from Iraq, but less than half are going home.
This still leaves troop levels about the pre-surge numbers.
While the U.S. is sending 4,500 troops to Afghanistan, the numer falls short of the 12,000 troops NATO commanders say are needed.
George Bush, the US president, has announced 8,000 troops will be pulled out of Iraq over the coming months and 4,500 sent to Afghanistan by January.
"While the enemy in Iraq is still dangerous, we have seized the offensive, and Iraqi forces are becoming increasingly capable of leading and winning the fight," he said in a speech in Washington DC on Tuesday.
"Attacks by the Taliban have increased over the past two years," Bush said at the National Defence University.
Bush said Afghan soldiers were "courageous" but "needed help" and that it was important to rebuild educational, agricultural infrastructures in the country.
He said success in Afghanistan was "critical for America and people of the free world".
Nick Spicer, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Washington, said: "The withdrawal amounts to 5.5% of the troops in Iraq ... it's really not that significant.
"This isn't the big pull-out some people in the establishment were calling for."
Zeina Khodr, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul, said: "US military commanders have been calling for up to 10,000 troops to be sent ... they are facing a resurgent Taliban carrying out bolder attacks.
"The Taliban have not been defeated."
Any large-scale change in US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan will be left to Bush's successor - either John McCain, the Republican nominee or Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate - after Bush leaves office in January 2009 following the November 4 presidential elections.
A reduction of 8,000 soldiers would leave 138,000 US government troops in Iraq and there are currently 33,000 in Afghanistan.
That will still be more than before Bush ordered a "surge" of extra forces in 2007 and also more than in November 2006, when his Republicans lost mid-term congressional elections largely due to voter anger over the war.
Bush's plan follows recommendations from senior US defence officials, including Robert Gates, the defence secretary, Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq.
Obama has promised to withdraw US troops from Iraq within 16 months and said he would put more resources into Afghanistan and "anti-terrorism efforts" along the Pakistan border, where US officials say they believe Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, is hiding.
McCain has refused any set any timeline for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
He has said he prefers Bush's policy of removing them based on commanders' recommendations and security conditions in the war zone.