Dear Mr. Rudow:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the withdrawal of United States combat forces from Afghanistan. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
I strongly believe that it is time to significantly decrease the presence of U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan. That is why I proudly co-sponsored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act requiring President Obama to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and report to Congress on the progress of his plan. I was pleased that language based on this amendment was included in the final bill.
I believe that the United States has accomplished much of what it set out to achieve in Afghanistan and that the current cost - both to our armed forces and to the American taxpayer - is far too high. Ten years ago, the United States Senate unanimously voted to use all necessary and appropriate force against those responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001 - the al Qaeda terrorist network. On May 2, 2011, the United States dealt al Qaeda a major blow by killing its leader, Osama bin Laden.
Although we must remain vigilant in our efforts to defeat al Qaeda and continue our support for the Afghan people, there is simply no justification for the continued deployment of roughly 90,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Our current forces should be drawn down to a point where they are sufficient only to conduct targeted counter-terrorism operations, train Afghan security forces, and protect American and coalition personnel.
As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, be assured that I will continue to advocate for a plan to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan while protecting U.S. national security.
Again, thank you for writing to me. Please feel free to contact me in the future about this or any other issue of concern to you.
United States Senator
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