Dec 01 2009

Shelby Comments on Obama’s Troop Announcement

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s expected announcement tonight that he will increase troop levels in Afghanistan, but also establish an accelerated timeline for withdrawal of forces.

“The terrorists seeking safe haven in Afghanistan have one goal – to terrorize Americans and disrupt our way of life.  They hate us not because of what we do, but because of who we are.  As long as al Qaeda continues to use Afghanistan as a sanctuary to stage, prepare, and launch attacks against our nation and our people, we must continue to root out these terrorists where they are. 

“To achieve that aim, we must act decisively on the requests of our commanders on the ground and not unduly delay or retract their resources.  While President Obama will temporarily increase troop levels, he also plans an accelerated exit strategy of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.  I remain open to a reduction of forces in Afghanistan if recommended by our military commanders.  Such withdrawals, however, are not part of the current strategy of our top military leader in Afghanistan – General McChrystal.  I remain deeply concerned about the Afghans meeting their own security responsibilities and I firmly believe the Afghan government must do more to strengthen its police force and military presence.  We cannot, however, set arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal or accelerate an exit strategy without giving our armed forces the chance to accomplish the mission. 

“This war is a test of wills and resolve.  I believe we must give our warfighters the opportunity to succeed.”