Boehner warns Obama on Afghanistan strategy

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA time for war, a time for peace — and always a time to defend America Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Soleimani killing deepens distrust between Trump, Democrats MORE (R-Ohio) is warning President Obama about the consequences of his pledge to completely withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of his second term.

“[A]rbitrary, political deadlines on war are rarely observed or honored by our terrorist enemies,” the Speaker's office wrote Tuesday amid a spattering of news reports about continued threats in Afghanistan from the Taliban and a record number of casualties. 

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Boehner's office cited Iraq and the rise of fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which have taken over large portions of both countries, as evidence that merely withdrawing U.S. forces from a country will not stop threats from terrorist groups.

As many as 10,800 U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan under a short-term agreement with the country's government to train and assist local security forces, an increase from 9,800, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced earlier this month. 

This is “a positive development,” Boehner's office said, “but the administration remains committed to its arbitrary deadline of pulling out all U.S. troops by the end of 2016.”

“Has President Obama not learned from his mistakes in Iraq?” the statement added. 

Obama on Sunday marked the official end of the 13-year U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan by arguing that the country is now more safe and secure. 

He said its people could “reclaim their communities, take the lead for their own security, hold historic elections and complete the first democratic transfer of power in their country's history.”

Boehner's office argues that the opposite could happen.

“In Iraq, the president ended combat operations in August 2010 and withdrew all troops by the end of 2011, and then largely ignored the country amid warnings – including from Speaker Boehner – that the security and political gains we achieved were being threatened and reversed,” it wrote.

On Monday, Taliban insurgents declared victory over the U.S. and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

“ISAF rolled up its flag in an atmosphere of failure and disappointment without having achieved anything substantial or tangible,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, according to Reuters

“Our goal must be to preserve the hard-won gains of our troops and meet our national security objectives,” Boehner's office said. “But one often gets the sense that the Obama administration – which is certainly not known for its anti-terror strategy – is simply awaiting the arrival of a random date on the calendar that was picked for ideological and political reasons, not the reality on the ground. That cannot continue.”