A bipartisan group of eight members of Congress are calling on the Obama administration to abandon the nation-building effort in Afghanistan in favor of a scaled-down mission focused primarily on quashing al Qaeda in the wake of the targeted special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, want the Obama administration to view the successful mission against bin Laden as a model for U.S. counter-terrorism strategy as a whole. Welch, Chaffetz and a group of three Democrats and three Republicans sent Obama a letter calling for the end of the war in Afghanistan and a shift to more surgical, strategic operations to combat worldwide terrorism.
Reps. John Campbell (R-CA), John Duncan (R-TN), Walter Jones (R-NC), Rush Holt (D-NJ), John Garamendi (D-CA) and John Tierney (D-MA) joined Welch and Chaffetz in signing the letter.
“The success of this mission does not change the reality that America still faces a determined and violent adversary,” Welch, Chaffetz and their colleagues wrote. “It does, however, require us to reexamine our policy of nation building in Afghanistan. We believe it is no longer the best way to defend America against terror attacks, and we urge you to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan that are not crucial to the immediate national security objective of combating al Qaeda…”
Welch and Chaffetz have been the leading voices in the House urging an end to the war in Afghanistan.
“The killing of Osama bin Laden was made possible by a strong intelligence operation and well-trained Special Forces units,” the group wrote. “In combating extremism, the combination of actionable intelligence and highly mobile Special Forces has proven most effective against an enemy that is not limited to a single geographic location.”