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Statement from Senator Coons on President's remarks on direction in Afghanistan


Location: Washington DC

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tonight released the following statement in response to President Obama's remarks on our nation's path forward in Afghanistan:

"I welcome the President's decision to redeploy 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer, but am disappointed he did not announce a change in strategy from a counterinsurgency to a counterterrorism mission. Even with fewer troops, if we do not shift our strategy, we will be no closer to a truly secure and stable Afghanistan five years from now than we are today. This is why I am advocating for a strategic redirection that will require a smaller military footprint and allow us to invest the resources necessary to address current and future threats to American security."

In an op-ed appearing last week in the News Journal, Senator Coons urged President Obama to make a "substantial" drawdown of U.S. forces the beginning of a new, targeted counterterrorism strategy that better balances our investment in Afghanistan with other threats to our national security such as those in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Iran.

"Though America has never shied away from taking the steps necessary to ensure its national security," he wrote in the op-ed, "our current path in Afghanistan is unsustainable and is undermining our ability to respond to other emerging global threats."

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