McConnell: Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal Should be Based on Conditions

Posted January 12, 2010 at 11:04am

President Barack Obama should not impose his July 2011 deadline for withdrawing troops in Afghanistan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.

McConnell, who just returned from a Congressional delegation trip of Senate Republicans to Afghanistan and Pakistan last week, told reporters that improvements have been made in the troubled region but that U.S. troops should not leave based on a set timeline.

“The summer of 2011 doesn’t mean an automatic draw-down,— McConnell said, adding that any withdrawal “should be based on conditions.—

McConnell added that the prison housing terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, should not be closed. McConnell questioned Obama’s plan for detailing with displaced prisoners, calling it “top-to-bottom confusion on detainment.—

“We see this preoccupation with prisoners’ rights, both on the foreign battlefield and here at home, and it seems to be consuming the administration in the war on terror,” he added.

GOP Sen. Mike Crapo (Idaho), Conference Vice Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.) joined McConnell on the Middle East trip. Members traveled from Wednesday to Monday and met with military and foreign leaders, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai.