President Obama likely will order U.S. combat troops out of Afghanistan sooner than anticipated. Senator Chuck Grassley says the U.S. should maintain a permanent presence in Afghanistan, even if combat forces are withdrawn.
“I hope the president’s plan is right and I understand that he wants to leave some troops there, although this week he said there’s a possibility that no troops would be left there,” Grassley says. “But I think that we’re seeking what’s going on in Iraq right now…that it was a mistake not to have a status of forces agreement with Iraq, maybe 1000, maybe 10,000 — but we need some presence there.”
President Obama met with Afghanistan’s president on Friday and the two agreed to speed up the transition of security for the country to Afghan forces. The U.S. war in Afghanistan is now the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. The Obama Administration has been considering a plan that would withdraw most U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2014, but leave behind a “residual” force of up to 4000 troops to help maintain security. Grassley would back that kind of a plan.
“To make sure that what gains have been made, the blood that’s been shed — that it isn’t wasted,” Grassley says.
Grassley made his comments Friday during an appearance on Iowa Public Television.
There are currently 66,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Most allies who joined the Afghan war effort have withdraw their troops.