Lawmakers write letter to Obama on Afghanistan withdrawal

A bipartisan group of eight House members has penned a letter to President Obama urging a speedy withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in the wake of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) spearheaded the letter, which is also signed by three other Republicans and three other Democrats: Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), John Campbell (R-Calif.), John Tierney (D-Mass.) and John Duncan (R-Tenn.).

“The success of this mission does not change the reality that America still faces a determined and violent adversary,” the members write in their letter. “It does, however, require us to reexamine our policy of nation building in Afghanistan. We believe it is no longer the best way to defend America against terror attacks, and we urge you to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan that are not crucial to the immediate national security objective of combating al Qaeda.”

The letter comes as several other lawmakers have renewed their calls for a quicker U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan following bin Laden’s death. Public support for the war has been waning, with a March Washington Post-ABC News poll showing that 64 percent of respondents said they do not think the war in Afghanistan has been worth it.

But the letter is not likely to mark a major pivot point in the Afghan war debate. With the exception of Garamendi, who was not present to vote, all eight lawmakers who signed Monday’s letter voted in favor of a symbolic resolution in March calling for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

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