Rudd tells Maliki: Australian troops are coming home.

Newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a surprise visit to Baghdad today and assured Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki “of a long-term partnership but stressed his combat troops deployed here would head home by June next year”:

“Earlier today I visited Australian battle group in Talil (southern Iraq) and spoke directly to what is a fine body of men and women,” Mr Rudd told a Baghdad news conference with his counterpart, Nouri al-Maliki.

“That battle group will come to a conclusion as of June next year. And that will be the last battle group we deploy.”

UPDATE: A look at the coalition of the defeated.