Buttigieg pledges Afghanistan withdrawal during first year in office

Buttigieg pledges Afghanistan withdrawal during first year in office
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South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBillionaire who donated to Trump in 2016 donates to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - GOP closes ranks to fill SCOTUS vacancy by November Buttigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice MORE, a veteran of the Afghanistan War, on Tuesday vowed to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan during his first year in office if elected president.

“We will withdraw. We have to,” Buttigieg said during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

Pressed by CNN moderator Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperThe media's misleading use of COVID-19 data Julia Louis-Dreyfus: 'We can't spend much time grieving' Ginsburg Pence aide dismisses concerns rushed vote on Trump nominee will hurt vulnerable senators MORE about whether he would do so in his first year, Buttigieg replied, “Yes.”

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“Look, around the world, we will do whatever it takes to keep America safe, but I thought I was one of the last troops leaving Afghanistan when I thought I was turning out the lights years ago,” Buttigieg said.

“Every time I see news about somebody being killed in Afghanistan, I think about what it was like to hear an explosion over there and wonder whether it was somebody that I served with, somebody that I knew, a friend, roommate, colleague," he added. "We’re pretty close to that day when we will wake up to the news of a casualty in Afghanistan who was not born on 9/11.”

The U.S. has about 14,000 troops fighting in the 18-year-old war on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan troops in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as ISIS.

On Monday, two U.S. troops were killed in what was reportedly an insider attack.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' Trump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE has expressed a desire to withdraw from Afghanistan, and his administration is negotiating with the Taliban to that end.

Former President Obama also hoped to leave office having withdrawn from Afghanistan, but he repeatedly walked back his plans on the advice of military leaders.

On Tuesday, Buttigieg put forth specific details about what he would want to see in an updated authorization for the use of military force (AUMF).

U.S. officials have been relying on the 2001 AUMF that authorized the war in Afghanistan for a host of counterterrorism missions elsewhere in the world. Lawmakers in both parties agree the AUMF should be updated but have been unable to come to an agreement on what the new version would look like.

Buttigieg said he would propose an AUMF that sunsets after three years.

“We need to talk not only about the need for a president committed to ending endless war but the fact that Congress has been asleep at the switch,” he said. “If men and women in the military have the courage to go serve, members of Congress ought to have to summon the courage to vote on whether they ought to be there.”