Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both indicated support for President Obama’s decision to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016.
During Obama’s re-election campaign, he promised that he would end the war that was started by former President George W. Bush in 2001.
FACT: President Obama has a plan to end the war in Afghanistan in 2014—Mitt Romney does not.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 22, 2012
Obama announced his plan to leave the current 9,800 troops in Afghanistan on Thursday.
“While America’s combat mission in Afghanistan may be over, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures,” Obama said. “I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again.”
[pull_quote_center]I think what you’re seeing with President Obama is a perfect example of a leader who has strong convictions about what he would like to see happen, but also pays attention to what’s going on in the real world. And his decision is one that I agree with.[/pull_quote_center]
Clinton said she wouldn’t specify what she would do if she were President, but that she believes the U.S. should “continue to work with the government of Afghanistan to try to help strengthen security for them.”
“I will not sit here today and say what I would do upon taking office because, again, we want to bring our troops home,” Clinton said. “We certainly don’t want them engaged in on the ground combat. We want them to help support and train the Afghan army.”
Clinton concluded, “So, I can’t predict where things will be in January of 2017. But I support the president’s decision.”
Stephanopoulos said that Obama is “keeping 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through next year. More than five thousand after that. You just heard Ben Carson saying he supports that decision. So does Hillary Clinton. Do you?”
“Well, yeah- I won’t give you the exact number,” Sanders replied. “Clearly, what the president has been trying to do and I say this as somebody who voted against the war in Iraq, a war which destabilized the entire region.”
“Clearly, we do not want to see the Taliban gain more power, and I think we need a certain nucleus of American troops present in Afghanistan to try to provide the training and support the Afghan army needs.”
Sanders said he would not “get into hypotheticals” when pressed by Stephanopoulos to explain which circumstances might push Sanders to authorize unilateral action to use force.
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