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Blitzer’s blog: Odd alliance on Afghanistan withdrawal
June 6th, 2011
01:52 PM ET

Blitzer’s blog: Odd alliance on Afghanistan withdrawal

There’s an increasingly vocal group of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans calling for a much more speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan. They are also getting frustrated with the stalemate in Libya. This odd alliance includes folks like Representatives Ron Paul and Jason Chaffetz on the right and Dennis Kucinich and Barney Frank on the left. Pressure is mounting on President Obama and his team to get out of Afghanistan especially now that Osama bin Laden is dead. The U.S. now has 100,000 troops in Afghanistan; NATO allies have another 40,000. U.S. Taxpayers spend more than $100 billion a year maintaining that troop presence in a country where the seemingly ungrateful Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, is threatening to declare the U.S./NATO forces as “occupiers.” If that’s how he and his supporters feel, there are certainly other ways for the U.S. to spend $2 billion a week.

President Obama has said that the U.S. will maintain forces in Afghanistan at least through the end of 2014 - another three and a half years. But he at least wants to start a withdrawal by the end of this July. Some want that withdrawal to be very modest – perhaps 5,000 troops. Others say the withdrawal could be 10,000 – which would bring down the U.S. troop level to 90,000. My own suspicion is that President Obama, like Vice President Joe Biden, wants to get out of there as quickly as possible. But his fear is a resurgent al Qaeda/Taliban presence in Afghanistan and the impact that would have on stability in the country, the potential spread of international terror, the rights of Afghan women, and the increasing tensions with a nuclear-armed Pakistan.

As he gears up for his re-election campaign, the President is under enormous pressure to improve the economy, create jobs and curb government spending. Saving $100 billion a year in Afghanistan could be an appealing strategy.

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Filed under: Situation Room • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. SHAH HUSSAIN KHUHRO

    I THINK US SHOULD GET OUT FROM AFGHANISTAN THAN PEACE CAN BE HAPPENED .

    June 16, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  2. Kathleen Gallagher

    Have Dr Abdullah Abdullah on the Situation Room as you have had in the past to comment on the current situation in Afghanistan!!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  3. HBE

    I see Wolf is terribly concerned with our presence in Afghanistan and especially Libya. Wolf, where were you when John McCain was throwing tantrums because we weren't doing anything?

    June 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  4. jeannemarie

    I am not a political person and maybe I don't know what I'm talking about but I am just beside myself! I hope others out there feel the same way as I do..here I go. our country would not be facing an economic crisis/depression as you say, if our money wasn't sent over to those countries...to help them? with their economy? I believe they are receiving our money to fight more..that's all those people know! no schools for the children? so all they are learning is to fight? o my goodness. I am a single parent who is struggling financially...there is no money to help with rent and to fix our current system..but there are billions to send over to these countries ..fighting for what?..o so much more to say!!!! It's just disgusting. and Obama..I had alot of respect for him in the very beginning of his term but he is doing nothing but spending our money for the other countries!!! Please..get him out of there!!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

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