Rep. Luján Urges Administration To Reject Troop Increase In Afghanistan

Press Release

By:  Ben Lujan, Jr.
Date: Sept. 25, 2009
Location: Washington, D.C.

Amid concerns about news reports suggesting the Administration may request a significant increase in American troop levels in Afghanistan, Congressman Ben Ray Luján and 57 of his colleagues asked President Obama to reject a troop increase in a letter sent today.

"While in Afghanistan in August, I met with various U.S. and Afghan officials, discussing the conditions in the country. In my conversations, I focused on our efforts moving forward and how the United States can help the Afghan people through humanitarian and diplomatic means. Through such means, I believe that we can help the Afghan people and support their efforts to take control of their country. It is clear that it is time to develop an exit strategy and prepare to bring our young men and women home. I am concerned about becoming involved in a long-term counterinsurgency that requires hundreds of thousands of troops. We need to give support to the Afghan people through humanitarian and diplomatic means, but troop increases are troubling at this time. I urge the Administration to reject a troop increase."

In August, Rep. Luján visited Afghanistan, speaking with officials including General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a United State diplomat to Afghanistan.

In June, Rep. Luján voted in favor of an amendment that would have required the Secretary of Defense to provide Congress, by the end of the year, with an outline of its exit strategy for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. The amendment was considered as part of the FY 2010 National Defense Authorizations Act (H.R. 2647). The amendment failed by a vote of 138 to 278. There was a similar standalone bill introduced earlier by Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), HR 2402, which Rep. Luján cosponsored.