Lawmakers Visit Afghanistan To Press Case For Troops To Stay
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[April 15, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The Speaker
of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, is leading a
delegation of Republican lawmakers on a trip to Afghanistan to
underscore their call for U.S. forces to remain there and also to review
the country's presidential election, Boehner's office said on Monday.
Boehner and seven other House Republicans met with U.S. troops,
the U.S. ambassador and the commander of NATO-led forces in
Afghanistan during the two-day visit that began on Sunday.
The April 5 vote is meant to usher in Afghanistan's first democratic
transfer of power as President Hamid Karzai steps down after 12
years and Western forces prepare to depart after more than a decade
Democratic President Barack Obama plans to withdraw most, or
possibly all, U.S. forces from Afghanistan this year, winding down a
conflict that began following the September 11, 2001, attacks. Obama
would like to leave about 8,000 troops to train Afghan forces and
for a counter-terrorism mission. Karzai, however, has declined to
sign an agreement allowing this.
Many Republican lawmakers have pressed for more U.S. forces to stay
and say they want to avoid a duplication of the instability in Iraq,
where they blame Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops in 2011
for a wave of sectarian violence.
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Boehner's office said the visit aimed to send "a strong, unequivocal
message that the House of Representatives wants to maintain a
right-sized presence in Afghanistan."
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool)
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