2016 Candidates and Congress React to President Obama's Afghanistan Announcement

Both sides of the aisle respond to plan to extend U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

— -- Presidential candidates and members of Congress immediately offered their opinions on President Obama’s plan unveiled today to extend the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and increase the number of troops in the country through 2016.

Some Republicans as well as Democrats offered qualified support for increasing troop numbers, but even some of those still criticized the Obama administration for its Afghanistan strategy.

2016 Candidates

Congress

"President Obama needs to finally lay out the broad, overarching strategy needed to defeat our terrorist enemies and protect the United States,” Boehner said in a statement.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, like Rubio, maintained President Obama is making a premature decision about the number of troops, and should keep the current number of troops in Afghanistan for the rest of his term.

“I appreciate the President informing the public this morning about his intentions to maintain a U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan after 2016," Pelosi wrote in a statement. Clearly, the President sees a vital security need that requires the continued presence of American troops. I look forward to a high-level briefing on the necessity of these steps when Congress returns to session."

"The bottom line is that 5,500 troops will only be adequate to conduct either the counterterrorism or the train and advise mission, but not both. Our military commanders have said that both are critical to prevent Afghanistan from spiraling into chaos," McCain wrote.

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