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US troop pullout plan from Afghanistan unlikely due to political opposition

May 6, 2011 - Washington

The death of Osama bin-Laden might have led Democrat and Republican legislators in the United States to renew calls for a speedy withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, but both still lack party leadership support.

The also do not have a bill to force a distracted Congress to focus on Afghanistan, The Washington Post reports.

"We're inept. We are inept and irrelevant," Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said about Congress, adding that bin Laden's death should force a re-evaluation of the war effort.

"Too many of our colleagues are afraid of being quote-unquote soft on terror" Chaffetz said.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said the killing of bin Laden is a proof that Obama should recommit to General David H. Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.

"This war on terrorism is critical to the safety and security of the American people. We still face a complex and dangerous terrorist threat. And, it's important that we remain vigilant. Obama has said that troops will begin withdrawing in July, but he has not said how many or how fast. Petraeus has warned that recent battlefield gains by U.S. troops in Afghanistan are fragile and reversible," he added.

Six members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus wrote a letter to Obama on Wednesday, recommending a "significant drawdown" in U.S. troops this summer.

However, neither party's Congressional leaders showed interest in pushing for a speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who was travelling in Afghanistan the day before bin Laden was killed, said Osama's death bolsters the case against a speedy withdrawal.

"This isn't the end of the war in Afghanistan. This is an uppercut to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But this stresses that now that we're on the offense and now that we're really making gains, now is not the time to reverse those gains," Kinzinger added.


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