Congressman Thornberry Expands On U.S. Troop Withdrawal

A new report has been released saying several U.S. Senators, both Democrat and Republican, have come together to produce a letter for President Obama, requesting a larger number of troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan this July than previously discussed in the White House. U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry spoke with Newschannel 6 about the upcoming U.S. troop withdrawal deadline in Afghanistan.

Congressman Thornberry explained the goal of troop presence overseas "is to clearly prevent Afghanistan from becoming a terrorist sanctuary that can be used to attack us." Thornberry went on to comment "the way we accomplish that goal is to help the Afghan army and police get to where they can provide their own security," which Thornberry explains obviously takes some time. The congressman also claimed "it seems very foolish because of political pressures back home to cut that short and not successfully complete that mission."

When asked about the amount of troops he thought was enough to safely withdraw from Afghanistan, Thornberry discussed the fact that General Petraeus is due to make recommendations to President Obama within the next few days, but did go on to say he wished "we did not have an artificial time deadline to withdraw troops," because he was afraid that would "discourage the people that want to help us and encourages out enemies."

Congressman Thornberry expressed his concern where politics and military meet, saying he and the troops he met overseas in Afghanistan worry if the time comes when "politics in Washington starts determining the mission rather than the actual conditions on the ground."

When Newschannel 6 asked Congressman Thornberry about the significance of the death of Bin Laden, and whether that milestone in U.S. military history was enough to yank out more troops from Afghanistan. He told us, "it does not make a significant difference in what we're doing in Afghanistan," but that "over the long run, Bin Laden will be very hard to replace in the Al-Qaida organization." Congressman Thornberry did continue, explaining the "ultimate nightmare in this whole situation is if the region deteriorates so that terrorists get their hands on nuclear weapons because they have made it quite clear that once they get them, they will use them, they will use them against us," and that the U.S. military has "got to do whatever it takes to avoid that."