Sen. Levin: No More Combat Troops for Afghanistan

By Gorman Gorman

Sep 11, 2009 10:38am

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports: The chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee today is coming out against sending more US combat troops to Afghanistan — at the very time President Obama is actively considering such a move. "We need a surge of Afghan security forces," Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., plans to say this morning in a speech on the Senate floor. "The larger our own military footprint there," Levin will say, "the more our enemies can seek to drive a wedge between us and the Afghan population, spreading the falsehood that we seek to dominate a Muslim nation." That's the same argument that Levin and others — including former CENTCOM commander General John Abizaid — made against the surge in Iraq. Levin, however, calls for sending more U.S. trainers to Afghanistan as a way to achieve the ultimate goal of increasing the size and effectiveness of the Afghan security forces. "We should increase and accelerate our efforts to support the Afghan security forces in their efforts to become self-sufficient in delivering security to their nation," Levin plans to say.  The increased effort could include sending more police trainers and transferring US military equipment from Iraq to the Afghan army.  He calls for nearly tripling the size of the Afghan army by 2012, from 90,000 today to 240,000. Although Levin argues that an increase in US combat forces would be counterproductive, he does not rule it out in the future. Instead he argues that any decision on sending more troops should be delayed until a greater effort is made to beef up the Afghan forces.

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