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Durbin, Kirk split on Afghanistan U.S. troop pullout in wake of Obama speech

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Below, statements from Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) different reactions to President Obama's Afghanistan troop pullout strategy speech on Wednesday. Durbin is for a troop pullout; Kirk said it may be best for soldiers to stay longer....

DURBIN STATEMENT ON PLAN TO BEGIN DRAWDOWN OF US FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement tonight, after President Obama announced plans to begin the drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan:

"The President's announcement that we will withdraw 30,000 of our 100,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer is a step towards the end of this long war."

"We invaded Afghanistan to end al Qaeda and with the killing of Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, we have accomplished our goal."

"Over the coming months, I'll continue to press for a swift and substantial withdrawal of our combat forces from Afghanistan. Ten years, hundreds of billions of dollars and the loss of over 1,600 American service members later, it's time for our fighting men and women to come home."

Last week, Durbin signed a letter with 26 members of U.S. Senate, calling for a sizeable and sustained reduction of our forces in Afghanistan. A copy of that letter can be found here.

Senator Durbin is the Assistant Senate Majority Leader and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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KIRK STATEMENT

Statement of Senator Mark Kirk on the President`s Afghanistan Withdrawal Announcement

WASHINGTON - United States Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) tonight released the following statement in response to the President's Announcement regarding the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan:

"I am concerned that the President has not followed the recommendations of General Petraeus on the timing of our withdrawal from Afghanistan. The General was successful in Iraq by maintaining American momentum while the Iraqi army grew to the size needed to maintain long-term security. To repeat his victory formula in Afghanistan, we would need to maintain military momentum against Al Qaeda and the Taliban until the Afghan army reaches critical mass of 400,000 troops-- estimated to be achievable by 2014. We withdrew our support and ignored Afghanistan in the 1990s and paid a high price in 2001. We should learn from that mistake and back the Petraeus strategy."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 22, 2011 9:24 PM.

Obama Afghanistan speech: 33,000 soldiers home next summer. Transcript was the previous entry in this blog.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, June 23, 2011. Fort Drum visit, New York fund-raisers is the next entry in this blog.

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