The Public Square

Robert Naiman on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan


Hi, I'm Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy, which works to reform U.S. foreign policy so that it reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans.

The death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan gives us an opportunity to reconsider whether we should keep 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

As President Obama considers how many troops to withdraw from Afghanistan this year, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk could help bring our troops home by co-sponsoring S. 186, the "Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act," which would show support for President Obama's promised "significant" drawdown this year and would also require the President to give Congress a timetable for the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is already a co-sponsor of this legislation. 15th district Representative Tim Johnson is a co-sponsor of similar legislation in the House.

While nearly three-quarters of the American public support the withdrawal of a "substantial number of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan this summer" - including the majority of Republican voters - the Washington Post reports that the Pentagon continues to pressure President Obama to make the promised drawdown "small to insignificant".

Senator Kirk's co-sponsorship of S. 186 would help President Obama withstand the Pentagons pressure and begin an end to the nearly decade long war which has taken the lives of over 1,500 U.S. troops and unknown thousands of Afghan civilians, while currently costing American taxpayers more than $100 billion a year.

You can learn more about efforts to press for a substantial drawdown of U.S. troops and a timeline to end the war on our website,