Tipton, Colorado senators back troop withdrawal

It’s time to begin looking at reducing the United States’ military commitment in Afghanistan, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., said, opening the door to agreement with President Obama.

Tipton also is in agreement with Colorado’s senators on the general approach to reducing the 100,000 troops now in Afghanistan. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, both Democrats, said they welcomed withdrawal of “surge” forces sent to the country in 2009.

Udall, however, said he wants a faster drawdown than Obama spelled out during the president’s televised address to the nation Wednesday night. Obama is planning to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, then pulling out 23,000 by the end of September 2012.

“I think we could safely withdraw 15,000 troops this year without jeopardizing the gains” the military has achieved, Udall said.

Bennet called the president’s announcement “an encouraging sign that he plans to follow through” on a plans to withdraw combat troops and support forces from the country “in a manner that is sizable, sustained and responsible.”

In killing Osama bin-Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., “We achieved the goal that was originally set out” in sending troops to Afghanistan, Tipton said.

Measuring progress from here is difficult, Tipton said, because the war in Afghanistan isn’t a matter of taking territory or other traditional measurements. The nation’s commitment to Afghanistan is worthy of examination, Tipton said.

“Could we use the same resources at home?” Tipton said. “I’m willing to look at it.”

Once troops return to the United States, Bennet said the need to “ensure that those who have served so bravely are fully supported as they transition home.”


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