Hoeven Statement on President Obama's Timetable for Withdrawing Troops From Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement this evening that 10,000 American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year, and that another 20,000 would be withdrawn by September 2012: 

“In April, I had an opportunity to meet in Afghanistan with General David Petraeus, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and our men and women in uniform as they performed their mission to train Afghan troops for the inevitable day when they will be responsible for defending their own national security.  At that time, General Petraeus outlined for us a plan for phased withdrawal of American troops contingent on conditions on the ground and the security of American personnel. 

“My expectation is that the President’s plan for withdrawal is within the range of options presented to him by General Petraeus. However, it is vital to this generation of young men and women defending our country’s interests in the War on Terror that the President heed the counsel of his generals and not get ahead of their recommendations.  

“He needs to make clear to our allies and our enemies alike that any plan to leave Afghanistan will be flexible and determined by actual circumstances on the ground in Afghanistan. Lacking such a policy could make it harder for our troops to complete their mission and threaten the hard-won gains since the surge of December 2009. 

“We all want our troops to come home, but we should bring them home in a way that honors their sacrifices and maintains the security of our nation.”