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Khazei Calls For Afghan Military Mission Transfer

The United States should not send more troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, but instead should slowly draw down its own forces and transfer counterinsurgency operations to the Afghanistan government, Democratic Senate candidate Alan Khazei said Monday.

Khazei, one of four Democrats running to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, was to speak Monday at Harvard University to outline the details of his proposed new U.S. approach.

"We need to return to our original mission: destroy al-Qaida and ensure Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists," Khazei said in the text of his prepared remarks. "We need to focus on Pakistan where al-Qaida is now headquartered and because Pakistan has nuclear weapons."

The City Year co-founder said he supported the initial U.S. invasion of Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Since then, "we've lost our way, strayed from our mission, and now we are asking our troops to build a nation in a place that is laden with corruption and has never had a strong central government," he said.

Besides withholding troops and transferring responsibility for counterinsurgency operations, Khazei proposes supporting economic development and pushing for democratic reforms within Afghanistan.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, Rep. Michael Capuano and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca also are seeking the Democratic nomination. Most have expressed similar caution about sending more troops.

State Sen. Scott Brown and Duxbury attorney Jack E. Robinson are competing for the Republican nomination.

The party primaries are Dec. 8. The special election is Jan. 19.

Kennedy, a Democrat, died Aug. 25 of brain cancer.

This program aired on November 16, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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