| GEO World|
| US troops in Iraq head to Afghanistan|
| Updated at: 1114 PST, Tuesday, April 21, 2009|
BAGHDAD: Nearly 500 U.S. Army combat engineers who specialize in clearing roads of explosives started shifting to southern Afghanistan.
"We are probably going to be the beginning of the influx you are going to see to Afghanistan," Lt. Col. Kevin Landers, commander of the Fort Carson, Colo.-based 4th Engineer Battalion, said as crews packed crates and cleaned vehicles for the flight to Kandahar.
Obama has ordered 17,000 more U.S. soldiers and Marines to Afghanistan to bolster the 38,000 American troops already battling the resurgent Taliban.
"We are going to take this footprint out of Iraq," said Landers, whose battalion received word of its reassignment last month just after taking command of clearing roads in Baghdad of bombs and debris.