One of Illinois’ U.S. senators says while he wishes the time frame was faster, he is pleased to hear the majority of troops in Afghanistan should be home by 2014.   U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he has personally told the president that the war should be wound up as fast as possible.


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“The president told me ‘I’m unwinding this as fast as I responsibly can,’” Durbin said. Durbin says even though a complete withdrawal date of 2024 is further off than he would like, the positive point is that there will be fewer boots on the ground in Afghanistan. “The presence changes dramatically,” Durbin said. “Instead of leaving American service men and women in vulnerable and dangerous positions, we start basically pulling back; we get into a training mode with the Afghans. They are in the forward flanks in terms of the defense of their country. This is the only way it works.”


The president announced the withdrawal of 23,000 troops by the end of this summer with security handed over to the Afghans by 2014, ending the United States’ combat role there. The number of troops that will stay to train Afghan forces hasn’t been announced and an agreement with Afghanistan’s president allows for the U.S. to undertake limited counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaeda.


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