Baghdad, Jan 14 (Agencies): Vice-President Joe Biden asked the US to ensure Iraq's stability and strengthen democracy to make it "a country that was worthy of the sacrifices" the American military suffered during eight years of war.

Biden, speaking to some 400 soldiers in Baghdad on Thursday, also said the US would continue to train and equip Iraqi forces beyond 2011. His remarks highlighted continuing uncertainty about whether all American troops will head home by the end of the year as required by a security agreement between the two nations.

"The Iraqi people for the first time in their history are on the verge of literally creating a country that will be democratic, sustainable and, God willing, prosperous," said Biden at the military's headquarters on the outskirts of Baghdad.

"By that we meant we were going to end this by bringing you all home within a time certain, but leaving behind a country that was worthy of all the sacrifices that so many of your brothers and sisters have made," Biden added.

More than 4,400 US troops have died since the 2003 invasion and an estimated 32,000 have been wounded.