Category Archives: Afghanistan

Senators Visit Afghanistan

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “and four Republican senators traveled to Afghanistan this week, becoming the second congressional delegation to visit the country so far this spring recess,” according to the Washington Post.

McConnell’s deputy chief of staff, Don Stewart, confirmed the visit by McConnell and Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a former U.S. Trade Representative. The trip had not been previously announced for security reasons, but photos of the delegation’s visit appeared Thursday morning on the U.S. Embassy Kabul’s Flickr photo-stream.

The senators met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and members of the Afghan parliament as well as Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Also appearing in the photos is Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who was not part of the McConnell delegation. Carper spokeswoman Emily Spain confirmed that the senator had traveled separately to Kabul.

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Rockefeller Wants U.S. to Leave Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) believes “the United States should get out of the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as soon as possible,” the Charleston Gazette reports.

During a visit to the Gazette on Tuesday, Rockefeller also criticized the way military appropriations are often approved as part of "supplementary" budget legislation, hiding them from the public.

"The military budget needs to come under new scrutiny. When I voted for the Iraq War, it was one of the worst votes in my life," Rockefeller said.

"Today, I have grave misgivings about being in Iraq for another week. We should be out of Iraq this year altogether," he said. "We are not going to win. It is not in the cards. Many Asian countries have a totally tribal culture.

"It is the same thing in Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen," Rockefeller said.

"I didn’t object to four days of bombing in Libya. But now the CIA is on the ground. That makes me nervous. I don’t have any patience with the Libyan endeavor," Rockefeller said.

"Libya makes no sense to me. I don’t think we should be there at all. We should get out of there and we should get out of Afghanistan. We can’t win there. We can’t change the country….

"Do you want three failed wars in a row? I don’t want to be in those places. And it has a great deal to do with the [federal] budget."

Rockefeller is a senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya

On Afghanistan, Reid Expresses Lack of Confidence

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “expressed doubt in the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan Thursday, saying, ‘I’m not confident it’s going to work,’” CNN reports.

In an interview that aired Thursday on CNN’s "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," the five-term Nevada senator said, "The president has indicated as commander-in-chief he is going to start drawing down the forces this summer."

Reid also noted the $100 billion the country is spending, calling it a "huge amount of money" that the nation "cannot continue to keep dumping" into the Afghanistan war.

Sharing his respect for Gen. David Petraeus, commander of coalition forces, Reid said, "I’ve talked to General Petraeus…and he thinks things are going well."

"I hope it’s going well," he continued. "But the American people have a … very short attention span."

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Durbin Says U.S. Cannot Remain in Afghanistan Indefinitely

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.

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Sherrod Brown Ready to Begin Afghanistan Exit

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “expressed frustration with the duration of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan in an interview with ABC News, predicting that more Democrats will voice similar sentiments in the near future and push President Barack Obama to begin a substantial drawdown,” Huffington Post reports.

"One of the most important things is staying on schedule, starting in July, on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan because, one, it’s not working so well, second, because of the cost of that to American taxpayers," Brown said. "I think we’ve been there too long."

U.S. taxpayers have spent “$336 billion on the war in Afghanistan, according to the Congressional Research Service.”

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