Sen. Boxer criticizes Obama on Afghan troop withdrawals

June 17, 2011 6:55:27 PM PDT
Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is calling on President Obama to bring the troops home from the war in Afghanistan. In a speech billed by her as a major address on the situation in Afghanistan, Boxer said the president should cut troop strength and shift the mission.

Speaking at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, Boxer said she didn't support the president's second surge in Afghanistan and said it's time for the troops to come home.

"There's simply no justification -- none -- for the continued deployment of 100,000 troops in Afghanistan," Boxer said.

According to Boxer, American troops could be reduced to a force of 10,000 to 25,000, and after the first significant drawdown in Afghanistan, the mission could shift.

"Targeted counter-terrorism operations, because we know it's a dangerous part of the world. Two, the protection of American and coalition personnel. And three, the continued training of Afghan security forces," Boxer said of the mission in Afghanistan.

Boxer says she knows the Pentagon is asking the president to hold off on ending the troop surge.

"When he went forward with the second surge, (President Obama) said the surge would be temporary and would allow the United States to begin 'the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2001," Boxer told ABC7 News. "He didn't say 'June.' He said 'July.'"

Obama is discussing how many troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan next month with General David Petraeus and outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates. We'll find out if the president has also been listening to Boxer and other Congressional members calling for an end to the war when he makes a statement after his meeting.

Along with Boxer, 25 Senators signed a letter of resolution echoing many of the same sentiments about the war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has asked for Obama to hold off on a decision until Autumn 2012 due to the upcoming fighting season.


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