Friday, September 4, 2009

Wire: Democrats Signal Resistance to US Troop Increase in Afghanistan

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that key Senate Democrats signaled Friday that any effort by President Barack Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan is likely to hit resistance on Capitol Hill, deepening a growing political divide on the war even within his own party.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin today said the U.S. must focus more on building the Afghan security forces. His cautionary stance was echoed by fellow Democrat Sen. Jack Reed, who is also on the committee and spent two days in Afghanistan this week with Levin.

The Associated Press noted that senators will return to Washington next week, just as Obama receives a new military review of Afghanistan strategy that officials expect will be followed up by a request for at least a modest increase in U.S. troops battling insurgents in the eight-year-old war.

Obama came into office on a campaign platform pledging to shift U.S. focus from the war in Iraq to the Afghan fight.

Lawmakers now say they want the U.S. to more quickly train and equip the Afghan Army and police so the Afghans can take over their own security.

The offensive effort to root out terrorists seems to be taking a political back seat to defensive efforts involving nation building and searching for an exit strategy.

By the end of the year, an estimated 68,000 troops will be in Afghanistan, 21,000 of which were ordered there by Obama last spring.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Dems signal resistance to Afghan troop increase

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