April 20th, 2011
06:55 PM ET

Boehner to Obama: Explain 'pace' of Afghan withdrawal

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner wrapped up a two-day trip to Afghanistan Wednesday with a demand that President Barack Obama explain how the "pace and scope" of a planned U.S. troop withdrawal will not undermine the country's fragile security gains.

The president has repeatedly said he is confident the United States can meet a self-imposed deadline to begin bringing U.S. troops back from Afghanistan in July without compromising Afghan security, though military commanders and government officials have raised concern about the readiness of Afghan security forces.

"Any drawdown of U.S. troops must be based on the conditions on the ground, not the political calculations," Boehner said in a prepared statement released by his office. "If the Obama administration insists on beginning to draw down troops in July, it must explain how the pace and scope of such a move will not undermine the tenuous progress we've made thus far. To date it has not done so."

Obama set the withdrawal timetable in 2009 when he announced the deployment of an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. All U.S. troops are set to be out of the country by 2014.

The president reportedly met with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, last month to discuss the pace of the withdrawal. Petraeus later testified before Congress about the plans, saying he was likely to recommend that some combat troops be among the first to return to the United States.

Boehner led a six-member congressional delegation to Afghanistan, where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Petraeus, commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, and other officials. The trip to Afghanistan followed a stop by the delegation in Iraq, where Boehner met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Boehner said during his meeting with Petraeus that the general told him security gains in Afghanistan are "fragile and reversible."

The House speaker said that for this reason the United States must remain focused on its counterinsurgency strategy "rather than focusing on meeting arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal."

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Filed under: Withdrawing troops
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. utardai asmus

    bring the troops home now mr obama and let the afgan goon fight amounts them self 2 kids of mine is fighting over there please some one when will this war stop its about time 2001-2011 enough

    April 24, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pamiri

    I am an Afghan not with suicide bomber like Karzai's brothers, I love my country and others too, I respect other religion and want from others to respect Islam and each other too, but I am against the wild Taliban and their fathers ISI Pakistanies and some,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    from Kabul

    April 24, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • utardai asmus

      when is it going to end all this hate

      April 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pamiri

    These dancing female are not Afghans, they are Pakistanies leadies or could be they are from border areas PAK_AFG , first you should know who they are then comments on them, thanks to all

    April 23, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pamiri

    This is also happened in Pakistan border area, except dancing killing smaggling they do not know any thing else

    April 23, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bud Tree Jr.

    That picture ought to make the NATO troops pretty glassy-eyed and want to get plastered out of their gourds. At least,it should take their minds off of killing for a while anyway.

    April 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CarolO

    Boehner would like this war to continue so they have more leverage and can't keep crying about "2 wars" or "Obama's War". 10 years of this is enough. We are digging wells, building roads, building schools over there and going broke here. 2 Billion a week was the last time I heard and tell me how we afford that?

    April 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

      25 years ago,Soviet Primier Mikhail Gorbachev felt the very same way,Carol. That's why in 1988 he decided to end the Russian episode there and let the chips fall where they may. We'd be quite wise to follow his example,but unfortunately,we won't!!!

      April 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Napoli

    Note above "....without compromising Afghan security..."

    Funny....does the Taliban or Al Qaeda have any more capacity to rain terror? This is one way this statement could be true. They could not bomb any more markets, etc if they had no more bombs. It seems they are pretty free to do as they please. So how could things get worse? It is true certain plots are foiled before they get off the ground or during the execution. How many more plots could they execute if they had freer movements?

    Certainly, the world would not be a safer place. Afghanistan has been chosen to be the place to fight this war. My appologies and regret to the Afghanies for living in the battle fields. The battle field was not chosen by the coalition but by the leaders of Afghanistan. You do have a choice, you can be with them or against them in this struggle. The choice is yours.

    April 22, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Napoli

    The coalition should leave, just as soon as the mission is complete or the host nation no longer is hospitable to the cause.

    When the Taliban is no longer able to threaten the world at large (and I might add – respects human rights and dignity) the mission will be complete. Solution – rise against the Taliban, Afghanies.

    When Al Qaeda is no longer a threat to the world, the mission will be complete. Solution – hand over Bin Laden (hint: there is a whole lot of money still up for grabs) and reject Al Qaeda and what it stands for. For this reason, international strategy is to win the minds and hearts of Afghanistan with projects of reconstruction so they may better decide the paths for themselves (hopefully choosing to help rather than hinder the international mission).

    The love to hate has fueled a conflict between Muslims and Christians or middle east and west for centuries. One would think Man would someday gain the capacity to realize this and do something about it. But just as he thinks with his small head when with a woman, he is powerless in the face of hatred. Perhaps one day this will change. Who cares what those long dead once said about the other?? "We" hate the other for reasons we can not understand or explain. So people – Grow up and start thinking with your Big Head and put this crap behind us.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • NucularInternets

      bin Laden is not much of a threat anymore. The real threat is the sleepers AQ has in our country and around the world right now. al-Qaeda's leadership is in disarray, small cells plan the attacks now.

      Humanitarian aid and increased cooperation between NATO forces and rural tribal areas is critical.

      April 22, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        That is a pretty bold statement....or is it propaganda? Did you hear what you wrote? We have no idea where Bin Laden is or what he is doing or what Al Qaeda's capacity is and yet we profess to say he and Al Qaeda are not a threat? How arrogant.

        Al Qaeda remains a threat. If the coalition stops they will continue right where they left off, with renewed hatred and purpose.

        Who are you kidding?

        April 22, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Napoli – Nucular is correct this time. ALQaeda is no more a threat like before as they cannot use the surprise effect anymore, but can act with little cells, without coordination, or in the future can become allie with a superpower like China.
        US are not the only nuclear power, and unable to destroy completely AQ.

        April 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • NucularInternets

        II never said that al-Qaeda was not a threat, I said that bin Laden was not a threat. The real problem is small cells that operate completely on their own but align themselves with AQ, probably to get followers or support from "charity" organizations...

        The military, our intelligence agencies and the Pakistanis all agree that roughly two-thirds of AQ's senior leadership has been destroyed from drone strikes and raids conducted by NATO and Pakistani forces. And I didn't judge the capacity of al-Qaeda. AQ remains a global threat that must be annihilated if we wish to have a peaceful future.

        Stop putting words into my mouth, please!

        April 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Any claim to have destroyed 2 thirds of AQ senior leadership is a fantasy based on nothing. Simply something the intalligence and the Paki need to say for obvious reasons.

        April 24, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        What happens if the president of the United States dies? He is replaced. So, what happens when AQ leadership is killed.....nothing? No one intelligent enough to replace him (its safe to not so "or her")? Why do I think it is absurd to think so? The real victory will be if and when AQ can no longer support themselves and supply lines cut but I fear hate will fuel the fires and keep them going. AQ I like the Mafia in that lower ranking individuals within will replace those higher ranking figure heads. A major victory will come only of the Top Leadership is killed or captured resulting in rip waves through out the organization and it cracks into splinters. People make up AQ an the Taliban. If people have faith in what they stand for they will continue to be supported with troops and funds and weapons. If people loose faith the support will falter. No one should be in Afghanistan except Afghanies or invited guests. However, Since the Taliban and Al Qaeda "picked" a fight they will have their fight, like it or not, and with strong leadership and support it will come to an end. Their end – God be willing. It may be true US forces have faltered and forgotten how to fight wars. But honor and courage will out weigh the cowardliness and dishonor of their foes.

        Happy Easter, to one and all:-)

        April 24, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
      • NucularInternets

        bin Laden was and still is the primary financial backer of al-Qaeda. Replacing someone like him who has millions upon millions to fund terrorist operations is extremely difficult in this day and age after 9/11.

        April 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        Truth??? Wow! You are funny. Truth in what? It has been said, "In wine, there is truth". And Al Qaeda believes in bombs, death and destruction there is truth??? I'll say this, in death we will know the truth. Until then, you all need to take a chill pill 'cause you have no idea what truth or evil you profess until that day comes.

        How about the freedom and belief and rights that all forms of religion and politics are all seeking the truth? Who among us can say for sure what God,Allah, Budda, or whatever, is the true supreme being? Who can say we are not all following the same Being but with different "slants" or understandings? That would not make any of us incorrect, no? If so, Damn it! Give it a Break and Back Off! Until that day comes we are all followers of the one above, misguided or otherwise.

        April 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Napoli – AlQaeda believe in bombs like the US- No difference at all, notwithstanding your lies.

        April 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • thino

        yes salerno but does this justify truth?

        April 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • thino

        what are you? some linguest hypocrite? you say these words carry meaning and then you yourself append different meanings to each word. i might be ignorant, but can you explain me how? anyways it seems as if you are the one who is adding some spiritual nature to truth. what fundementals do i not understand? al quade promotes freedoms? freedoms of religion, of choice? i also found that queda might be a reference to the database of fighters against the russian invasion. many of these millitants went on into al kaeda.
        all you do is call people names (ignorances, liars, deniers). but you barely justify anything. just going on with your rambling posts

        April 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        Screw it......Bombs.Bombs and more bombs......I hope you all get blown to hell since this is all you seem to understand.

        April 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • NucularInternets

      Get out, people like you ruin this discussion with mindless propaganda you picked up from terrorist websites, your crazy priest/imam/rabbi, or some random dude you hang out with...

      April 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • thino

      you are right for once. Al kaeda cannot be eliminated because the al kaeda members respawn/reproduce so fast with their multiple wives, and spawn so many children which hide all over the country and grow up to be like their glorious fathers. where do you dig up your ridiculous hypothesis/guesses? from your local village? also stop using the word gentile to spew your own islam/radicalism (fabricated knoledge for self-benefit).

      April 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pamiri

    Any ways, the international forces is helping people through their services, and we people of Afghanistan know better that Taliban are killing, destroying and eliminating not just country but also all region. People of the would are honest and they know well, who does what, they are the eyewitness of Taliban’ barbarism and atrocities, Taliban and Karzai is also knows it better that now World knows there is no difference among Taliban and Karzai,

    April 22, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Napoli

    Right! Obama had said this is a war the US can not afford to loose. Apparently, their are limits as to how long it will last or how much it may cost and, it seems, very different opinions os to what is considered a win or loss.

    Let not the lives lost for this cause be in vein.

    The mission of the coalition is to disable Al Qaida and Taliban. Not to provide for a better Afghanistan. Taliban and Al Qaida are alive and well. How can the US say the mission is complete or nearing completion????

    April 22, 2011 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      They started the war after having asked for Bin Laden in vain. They were unable to reach their goal, so they need to change the goal to look like winners.

      April 22, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
      • utardai asmus

        you are the first 1 they will get so dont burn your bridges

        April 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cput

    3 Afghans held over holy Quran desecration
    Full story: PakTribune

    KABUL: Three people have been arrested as officials probe claims that a paper mill in Afghanistan recycled copies of the holy Quran into toilet paper, the attorney general's office said on Tuesday.

    April 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      This story sounds like a false fabricated for propaganda purpouse.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Napoli

      Who cares? Used paper is used paper even if it is used once again.

      What scandal would result should used toilet paper be used to print copies of the Quran?

      April 22, 2011 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. pamiri

    People are supporting international forces to beat Taliban and their backs Pakistan and most of people do no support Karzai , except border area of AF_PAK, those who think like Karzai, with karzai it looks unlikely to achieve what the humanity requires for, because karzai does not believe on human rights and equity, he just thinks about his, tribal system, stone age like Taliban the illegal sons of Pakistanies , karzai is trying to confronting people against the international forces but people well aware of thins,

    April 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Afghan people don't need Karzai approval to protest against the US. I too blame Pakistan, but because of their military operations against the Taliban, and the consequent civil war with so many civilian casualties. Pakistan is also paid by the US like Pamiri.

      April 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. salerno

    It is not possible that after 10 years there are still security problems, if the majority of Afghan people would be with USA. The reality is that Afghan people are against US occupation. US and the rest of the wolrd are all fighting few thousands of Taliban with high tech weaponry, with little success. Only few people llike Pamiri paid by the US are supportimng this shamefull occupation.

    April 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Napoli

      The "occupation" is not without purpose. It has, however, been forgotten, its seems and that is too bad.

      April 22, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. pamiri

    Salerno, Yaqobi and Banghash, do you know any thing else except expressing some bad things, you should use your minds if you have it a little, now the world is not listening that what you are saying ( all wrongs ), all people of the world have their mind and they have their analyzing on issues and they better know, who does what, and its not base on your propagandas Pakistanies and their slave, you are always fake and fraud expert people and your illegal sons borders of PAK_AFG. On the one hand Karzai is showing that he is the American puppet and on the other hand he is making peace shura for Taliban, in one hand Karzai is deployed his brothers Taliban Alqaeda in national army on the other hand he is just condemning their actions, not saying that Taliban did this bad action, nowadays Taliban can even enter the high position of security sector ???? Karzai you are playing the game of ISI Alqaeda in Afghanistan, as an Afghan and human I am very shameful on you, in this past ten years just you fulfilled your pocket and did nothing for those people who sacrificed for this country, shame on you and on same of you too,

    April 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BANGASH

      PAMIRI if you were Afghan you would never have opposed me and Salerno as we are clear and never speak which we cannot prove. Afghanistan has two hundred years history of such invasions aimed at depriving Afghans of what they have. Same invaders have been invading and imposing compliant rulers in Kabul the way Karzai has been imposed. If this you cannot understand then you are neither Afghan nor have any mind. you are just stupid.

      April 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pamiri

    Many questions have has raised by reading of this article, such as for what purpose we entered to Afghanistan? Have had we achieve them yet? Or still there needs some effort to achieve them? What is the ground situation, are there strong government and good governance system? Who is on power, Taliban affiliated people, which is against our strategy or someone who battling against Taliban, and their atrocity and barbarism in the country, who fight against Taliban-Alqaeda?

    We believe that most of the high seats occupied by the Taliban’s affiliated people that starts from Karrzai and his favor some ministers, even they can enter the suicide bomber in side the defense ministry!!! This case needs to investigated in very tens condition!

    Obama it is the time to be more focus paid on destroying the real nets of the Taliban-Alqeada and in their allies in and out of Afghanistan, it needs to be clean up the defense ministry from those who are supporters of Taliban, who think like Taliban, it is means they are Taliban! All the defense ministry’s corps became under the commander of those people who think like Karzai and Taliban! It needs to be more focus on it,

    Every day there (Afghanistan) killing and barbarism from Taliban Alqeada are escalating, but international forces ignoring these all why? Stable government needs stable strategy not the strategy that be changeable even by Karzai! Strategy needs to choose a person who is honest and loved their country and their people, not choose a person who is a big dealer of opium with his band like Karzai, that due to this man, the situation after ten years being of international forces in Afghanistan still some of your high official says the security is fragile why? It is up to you and up to your administration to finds these why?

    And to cope them, we believe it’s the time to open new page for Afghanistan with effective strategy that could cope those challenges that now we are facing , (The House speaker said that for this reason the United States must remain focused on its counterinsurgency strategy "rather than focusing on meeting arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal) but would be stable and strong than before, god is with those who helping people and humanity , not with those who kill and destroying every thing,

    From Kabul

    April 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Pamiri – you are paid by the US, so you cannot speak foer them using words like "we". Afghanistan will be safer withouth the Americans. It is time to end this shanefull propaganda

      April 21, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
      • pamiri

        this is you are Pakistanis and your illegal sons border of AF_PAK are living by the left of uk and usa

        April 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

      More right-wing bla-bla-bla from pamiri. How old it gets!!! We have absolutely no right to be in Afghanistan!

      April 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Right Yacobi, he exposed himself using word "we".

      April 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  16. BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

    We need to get out of there as soon as possible just like the Russians did back in 1989. Foreign intervention is wrong in any case and has never worked in Afghanistan

    April 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |