By Molly K. Hooper - 04/20/11 05:25 PM EDT
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ended a visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday by calling on President Obama to better explain how the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces beginning in July won’t undermine the “tenuous” security gains made there.
"Any drawdown of U.S. troops must be based on the conditions on the ground, not on political calculations,” Boehner said in a statement. “If the Obama administration insists on beginning to draw down troops in July, it must explain how the pace and scope of such a move will not undermine the tenuous progress we’ve made thus far. To date, it has not done so.”
He was accompanied by Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.).
“During our meeting with Gen. Petraeus, he noted that security gains have been made in Afghanistan, but that they are fragile and reversible. That is why we must remain steadfast in our commitment to the counterinsurgency strategy our commanders on the ground have put in place and to ensuring its success, rather than focusing on meeting arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal," Boehner said.
“Our visit gave us an on-the-ground perspective of the opportunities and challenges facing our troops and civilians,” he went on. “While the conditions remain difficult in Afghanistan, our troops are making gains in their efforts to improve security and prevent al Qaeda and the Taliban from using the region as a safe haven from which to launch attacks on the U.S. and our allies. It’s also clear that there are immense challenges in building a credible government on behalf of the Afghan people. We heard from President Karzai about his efforts to do so."
Boehner's congressional delegation trip began with visits to Iraq and Pakistan.