Boehner: Afghanistan buildup needed

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Saturday that more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan to stop the country from becoming a terrorist haven again.

Speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, the House Minority Leader predicted what to do next in the battle against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces will consume Washington as lawmakers debate whether or not to send more troops to the country.

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“Over the coming months, there is going to be a big debate about what our future is,” Boehner said.

The Ohio Republican said to withdraw the U.S. military from Afghanistan would allow terrorist factions to organize and train again, preparing them for another attack on America.

“We cannot allow this to happen,” he said.

Lawmakers have recently called on Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, to testify before Congress. The general is expected to request thousands of more troops to help stabilize the country but public support for the war has been waning, forcing political leaders to reconsider the U.S. engagement there.

Boehner said his colleagues have not heard back yet from the Obama administration on if and when McChrystal is going to testify. Nevertheless, the GOP leader said more troops are necessary to fight the war.

“It is clear that we need more troops in Afghanistan if we are going to succeed,” Boehner said. “It is also clear that if we don’t get more troops and we began to change the mission, we are allowing our soldiers who are in that theater to be at much greater risk than they are today.”

Liberal lawmakers in Congress have begun to question the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, which could set up a clash with the Democratic White House that so far has sent more troops into battle there. If President Barack Obama does decide to send more forces into the country, it seems he could find more support from lawmakers across the aisle than those in his own party.

In his speech before summit attendees, Boehner expressly said U.S. troops should have all the resources they need in order to win the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

“If we are going to send our soldiers in a faraway place around the world to protect America, we ought to make sure that have everything they need to succeed,” Boehner said to a standing ovation.