US Senate backs faster US withdrawal from Afghan
Washington: The US Senate voted overwhelmingly for an accelerated withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan after more than a decade of fighting, reflecting the wishes of a war-weary nation.
The strong bipartisan vote of 62-33 sends a clear message to President Barack Obama and the military as they engage in high-stakes talks about the pace of drawing down the 66,000 US troops there, with a White House announcement expected within weeks.
Although the vote was on a nonbinding amendment to a defense policy bill, its significance could not be discounted. Sen Jeff Merkley, the chief sponsor, argued that al Qaeda is stronger in other parts of the world and that nation-building in Afghanistan has gone off track.
His measure endorsed Obama`s timetable to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014 but pressed for a quicker pace, without specifying how that would be achieved. "It is time to end this war, end the longest war in United States history," Merkley said.
The Senate hopes to wrap up its version of the bill by week`s end. It then would have to be reconciled with the legislation the House passed in May. The House bill calls for Obama to maintain a force of at least 68,000 troops through the end of 2014.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said yesterday the US will need to keep troops in Afghanistan even after the combat mission ends because al Qaeda is still present in the country and is trying to strengthen its influence.
Panetta would not say how many American troops he thinks will be needed to conduct that mission, nor did he mention a time period.
"The goal here is an enduring presence therefore that will direct itself toward three important missions. One is obviously counterterrorism, to ensure that we continue to go after whatever al Qaeda targets remain in Afghanistan," Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. He added that the United States also will have to train and assist the Afghan forces while providing support.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Security guard beats woman journalist publicly in Pakistan
- Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K's Hiranagar; 7 Pak Rangers killed, BSF jawan injured
- ISIS terrorists escape Mosul disguised in women's clothing
- DNA: Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K's Hiranagar; Seven Pak Rangers killed
- DNA: Analysing the existing poor condition of Indian education system
- MS Dhoni reacts in astonishment as Axar Patel takes a stunning one-handed catch - VIDEO
- BSP shrugs off Rita Bahuguna 's jump; says BJP will still face defeat in UP polls
- Navjot Singh Sidhu out on zero to Waqar Younis in 1990 – The match Kapil Sharma keeps talking about
- MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli? Here's Virender Sehwag's best ever reply
- Sushant Singh Rajput’s former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande’s Karva Chauth photos will surprise you