US House rejects call to pull out of Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (PAN): The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected a resolution calling for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan by year’s end, favouring President Barack Obama’s long-term war strategy.
Republicans and Democrats joining together favored Obama’s Afghan policy of drawdown beginning July 2011 and completing the transition by 2014.
"President Obama has announced his intention for a drawdown of our troops in Afghanistan beginning July of this year. I look forward to reviewing this course of action and will work with the President in Congress to ensure that all US troops are brought home safely and expeditiously," Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, said after the resolution sponsored by Congressman Dennis Kucinich was defeated by the House.
As many as 321 Congressmen voted against the Kucinich resolution, which received support from just 93 lawmakers.
"I strongly believe that today’s vote in the House should not be taken as an indication of support in Congress for an open-ended commitment of US forces. Americans have grown weary of war and many of us in Congress have expressed our opposition to an extended military presence in Afghanistan," she said.
"To quit the area before we’ve rooted out the terrorists would not only hand al-Qaeda a propaganda victory of immeasurable value, but it would cede them a sanctuary from which they could mount fresh strikes at the West with virtual immunity. To withdraw from Afghanistan at this point, before we’ve finished the job, is to pave the way for the next 9/11," said Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in her speech on the floor of the House.
The defeat of such a resolution came a day after General David Petraeus, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told the House Armed Services Committee that the passage of a resolution mandating the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan would be viewed as a "victory" by al-Qaeda and the terrorist organization’s patron, the Taliban.
General Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Forces—Afghanistan and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), also said passage of any such resolution would also “undermine” the efforts of US troops serving in Afghanistan.
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