Monday, April 14, 2014

U.S. lawmakers visit Afghanistan to press case for troops to stay --- (Reuters) - The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, is leading a delegation of Republican lawmakers on a trip to Afghanistan to underscore their call for U.S. forces to remain there and also to review the country's presidential election, Boehner's office said on Monday. -- Boehner and seven other House Republicans met with U.S. troops, the U.S. ambassador and the commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan during the two-day visit that began on Sunday. -- The April 5 vote is meant to usher in Afghanistan's first democratic transfer of power as President Hamid Karzai steps down after 12 years and Western forces prepare to depart after more than a decade of war. -- Democratic President Barack Obama plans to withdraw most, or possibly all, U.S. forces from Afghanistan this year, winding down a conflict that began following the September 11, 2001, attacks. Obama would like to leave about 8,000 troops to train Afghan forces and for a counter-terrorism mission. Karzai, however, has declined to sign an agreement allowing this. -- Many Republican lawmakers have pressed for more U.S. forces to stay and say they want to avoid a duplication of the instability in Iraq, where they blame Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops in 2011 for a wave of sectarian violence. -- Boehner's office said the visit aimed to send "a strong, unequivocal message that the House of Representatives wants to maintain a right-sized presence in Afghanistan." - More, at:


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