Udall: Time has Come to Withdraw Surge Forces from Afghanistan
Urges Drawdown of 15,000 Troops this Year, 18,000 in 2012
Listen: Audio requires Flash Player MP3 Download
Today, Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, released the following statement responding to President Obama's plan to withdraw this year and next the 33,000 troops who have served as part of the 2009 "surge" in Afghanistan:
“Coloradans are understandably weary of war, worried about the cost and its impact on our soaring national debt, and increasingly frustrated about the toll it has taken on our troops. It’s time to bring the surge troops home, and I wish the president had laid out a more aggressive plan today. After discussing this issue at length with senior military leaders, diplomats, and many experts with years of service in Afghanistan, I think we could safely withdraw 15,000 troops this year without jeopardizing the gains that our men and women in uniform have achieved.
“Bringing half of the surge troops home would send two clear and unmistakable messages to the Afghan government. First, it’s time for them to take over the security of their own country. Our mission there is not indefinite – and our bank account is already in the red. So it’s time for them to begin standing on their own. And second, ensuring that the millions of dollars in aid we’re sending to Afghanistan are being used wisely for the purpose we intend, not falling into the hands of insurgents or corrupt officials.
“A reduced troop presence doesn’t mean that we are any less committed to the security of Afghanistan. But our interests there no longer require the deployment of 100,000 troops, including thousands of brave Colorado service members. We need to focus more of our resources on concerns at home. Coloradans rightly want to know when this is going to end. We should re-dedicate ourselves to ensuring that we’re leaving Afghanistan stable and conclude our responsibilities there.”