Obama faces pressure on troop withdrawals

June 18, 2011 at 10:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is facing pressure from two Democratic allies who want up to 50,000 troops withdrawn from Afghanistan this year.

Friday, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., called for Obama to withdraw 30,000 troops by year's end, with Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, calling for 50,000 withdrawals, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.

Obama has said he would start withdrawing troops in July, but he has not discussed specific numbers. All U.S. troops are to be out of Afghanistan by 2014.

Boxer, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said the United States should shift to "a different mission focused on targeted counter-terrorism operations, the protection of American coalition personnel and the continued training of Afghan security forces."

In a Los Angeles Times report, Lee said anything less than halving the 100,000 U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan is too little.

"As the president contemplates this decision, I urge him to hold true to his comments that he will seriously consider a 'significant' reduction of U.S. troops in Afghanistan," Lee said. "A more significant and reasonable goal would be the withdrawal of 50,000 combat troops," she said. "Any withdrawal plan should begin immediately and be conducted swiftly, not dragged out over years."

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