Monday, September 14, 2009

More in Congress Express Skepticism Over Obama's Afghanistan Policy

"Congressional skepticism over the Obama administration's plans for Afghanistan mounted Sunday as three senators questioned whether more troops should head there and one lawmaker called for a withdrawal timeline.

Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Diane Feinstein along with Republican Susan Collins said they shared colleagues' concerns about boosting troop levels before substantial bolstering of the Afghan military and police.

"I just don't know that more troops is the answer. We clearly need more American civilians to help build up institutions. We need to grow the size of the Afghan army. But we're dealing with widespread corruption, a very difficult terrain, and I'm just wondering where this ends and how we'll know if this succeeded," said Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, has urged the White House to avoid escalating the war and speed up training for Afghan security forces instead of sending more U.S. troops into combat.

Shaheen, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she understood Levin's concerns but stressed that she wanted more information on the administration's Afghanistan policy from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces there. He recently submitted a broad review of Afghan strategy to President Barack Obama."

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