Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) “on Sunday backed a planned drawdown of U.S. troops this summer in Afghanistan, but declined to say the exact number he’d like to see withdrawn,” POLITICO reports.
He appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Here’s a transcript excerpt of the discussion on Afghanistan:
SEN. DURBIN: I want to see a clear trend line that suggests that American troops are coming home. The longest war in our history has to come to an end. We have to transfer responsibility of this war to the Afghan people, either their police force or their military. And we have to acknowledge the obvious, we cannot stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. It is too costly in terms of Americans lives and treasure.
MR. GREGORY: So if this is just a–what might be described as a small or a token withdrawal, that’s not enough.
SEN. DURBIN: Well, I think it has to be the beginning of a withdrawal that is significant. The president made that promise. I know he will keep it. He understand that our role in the world has to be defined and specific–we see that in Libya–and that we can’t engage, as we have in the past, in these massive troop commitments that go on indefinitely.
MR. GREGORY: Would you put a number on what the withdrawal has to be by July?
SEN. DURBIN: It’s hard for me to say that. I don’t want to endanger the troops that are there. But I think what America’s looking for, what the president’s looking for is a clear indication that we’re coming home.