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 (18 Responses)
  1. 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 |
  2. 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 |
  3. 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 |
  4. 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 |
  5. 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 |

      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 |
  6. 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 |

      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 |

    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 |