Lawmaker: Obama has chosen 'responsible path'

 

Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One House panel approves 3B defense policy bill House panel approves 3B defense policy bill MORE (D-Wash.) on Tuesday praised the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the next two-and-a-half years.

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Keeping 9,800 soldiers in the country past the end of 2014 to train Afghan forces and support counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda “is a responsible path forward,” the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said in a statement.

“We cannot and should not continue to maintain a large presence in Afghanistan forever, but we also cannot overlook our national security interest in the region,” according to Smith. “The announcement demonstrates that the president understands this balance.”

President Obama from the Rose Garden announced Tuesday that the new troop level would be halved by the close of 2015 and drawn down to a normal embassy presence in Kabul by the end of 2016.

Smith urged the Afghan government to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain past 2014.

“The American people have paid a significant price in this conflict and it is time that we allow the Afghan people to take responsibility for their own future,” he said.