BOSTON — Rep. Stephen Lynch is changing his position on the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, calling for a faster troop withdrawal than President Obama wants.
Lynch says his new outlook developed since his latest visit to Afghanistan as part of a congressional delegation, in November, and after recent negative incidents involving U.S. troops.
Lynch has visited Afghanistan seven times since 2001, meeting with troops, civilians and Afghan leaders, and says he believes the U.S. can leave the country in “relative security” in 2013, as opposed to a year later as the president has planned.
“I think that our resources are best used and the lives of our sons and daughters are so precious, that that’s a reasonable accommodation to make given the outcome, whether we leave in 2013 or 2014,” Lynch said.
He cited questionable support from the Afghan people and illiteracy among new Afghan forces as a drain on U.S. efforts. He added that a Taliban safe haven along the Pakistan border exacerbates the problems.
“That’s a situation that will just cause more and more sacrifice for our troops in that region,” Lynch said. “And I think they’re taking advantage of the United States in terms of asking us to do the hard work and at the same time giving some support to these Taliban forces.”
Lynch said he and other members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs will return to Afghanistan soon. He wouldn’t specify the timeframe due to security concerns. After the visit, the committee will report findings and recommendations to President Obama.