The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is updating Congress on progress in that edition of the war on terror. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says from what he’s heard General David Petraeus say so far, it may not be long before American troops who are serving in Afghanistan will be able to head home.
Grassley says, “It’s going to be a very slow return and I think it’s going to be very programmed and very much related to the situation over there, that it can change from time to time.” The general is painting a mostly-upbeat picture of the accomplishments in Afghanistan, mirroring efforts he led as commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.
Grassley says troop withdrawals from Afghanistan may begin as early as July, but they’re expected to be fairly small. “General Patraeus was successful with his program to stop U.S. involvement in Iraq by accomplishing our goals there,” Grassley says. “He’s trying to do the same thing in Afghanistan using the same plan he did in Iraq.”
The latest strategy calls for the U.S. to continue its anti-Taliban operations in Afghanistan until that country’s own military is able to take over the process by 2014. “Obviously, we don’t want to be there any longer than we have to be,” Grassley says. “We want to be there long enough to accomplish our goal and the goal is to make sure there’s not a safe haven for the training of terrorists that want to kill Americans and Europeans.”
Some 2,800 Iowa National Guard troops are in the midst of a year’s deployment in Afghanistan.