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Kerry: Cost of Afghan war 'unsustainable'

June 12, 2011 at 11:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry says President Obama should consider speeding up his plans for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, calling the war's cost "unsustainable."

Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is among Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill pressuring Obama to speed up the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

With Osama bin Laden dead and at a time of financial stress at home, the Obama administration should concentrate on targeting al-Qaida instead of maintaining wide military deployments in the region, Kerry said.

"The president ought to take advantage of that success and push us in a direction that accelerates the ability of the Afghans" to take over operations, said Kerry, D-Mass.

The president has said he would start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July, and those decisions could have a big impact on Obama's re-election efforts, the report said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president would make his decision based on reports from his military commanders in the field.

"The president obviously is very mindful of how we use our resources and setting priorities for how we use our resources," Carney said. "The fact is that we believe we are making progress."

Kerry said the Afghan war's $10 billion-a-month cost is "unsustainable."

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