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House Progressive Caucus calls for speedier troop reductions in Afghanistan

Four liberal California Democrats are among the lawmakers urging a 'significant' reduction in U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan no later than July as a result of Osama bin Laden's death. President Obama has said he wants to start withdrawals this summer but numbers are still being discussed.

May 04, 2011|By Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington — Four liberal California House members are among a group of lawmakers pushing for a "near term and significant" drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan no later than July in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death.

"In the wake of Osama Bin Laden's death, now is the time to shift toward the swift, safe, and responsible withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors from Afghanistan," members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus wrote to President Obama on Wednesday.

They include Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee of Oakland, Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, Mike Honda of San Jose and Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma.

"The death of Osama Bin Laden certainly does not represent an end to Al-Qaeda," they wrote in calling for "refocusing U.S. resources and security assets" to fight terrorism.

Obama has said he wants to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan this summer, but the number is still being discussed.

The desire to withdraw troops has not been limited to liberal Democrats. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who is influential in foreign affairs, has also called for a withdrawal.

"Nearly a decade later, with Al Qaeda largely displaced from the country, but franchised in other locations, Afghanistan does not carry a strategic value that justifies 100,000 American troops and a $100-billion-a-year cost, especially given current fiscal restraints in the United States," Lugar said.

Most recent polls show that a majority of Americans feel that the number of U.S. troops should be reduced in Afghanistan.

richard.simon@latimes.com

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