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Clinton Supported 100 Percent A Full Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

- November 13, 2015

After Obama Signaled Plans To Withdraw U.S. Troops From Afghanistan, In October 2015, He Announced American Forces Would Remain There At Current Levels. "Obama also signaled plans to withdraw American forces from the country, only to announce last October that U.S. troops will remain in the country at current levels throughout much of 2016." (Jim Sciutto, "U.S. Soldier Killed In Afghanistan," CNN, 1/5/16)

  • The New York Times Headline: "In Reversal, Obama Says U.S. Soldiers Will Stay In Afghanistan To 2017" (Matthew Rosenberg And Michael D. Shear, "In Reversal, Obama Says U.S. Soldiers Will Stay In Afghanistan To 2017," The New York Times, 10/15/15)
  • "The Announcement Underscores The Difficulty Mr. Obama Has Had In Achieving One Of The Central Promises Of His Presidency" And Concedes That "Afghan Forces Are Not Fully Up To The Task Of Protecting Their Country." "But the announcement underscores the difficulty Mr. Obama has had in achieving one of the central promises of his presidency in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Obama conceded that despite more than a decade of fighting and training, Afghan forces are not fully up to the task of protecting their country." (Matthew Rosenberg, "Obama Announces Halt Of U.S. Troop Withdrawal In Afghanistan," The New York Times, 10/15/15)

Given "Afghanistan's Security Situation Is So Tenuous," In December 2015, Army Gen. John Campbell Said He May Seek Additional U.S. Troops For Afghanistan. "Afghanistan's security situation is so tenuous that the top U.S. commander there wants to keep as many U.S. troops there as possible through 2016 to boost beleaguered Afghan soldiers and may seek additional American forces to assist them. Army Gen. John Campbell said in an interview with USA TODAY that maintaining the current force of 9,800 U.S. troops to train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism raids is vital, and that the scheduled reduction to 5,500 by Jan. 1, 2017, should be put off as long as possible." (Tom Vanden Brook, "Top U.S. General May Seek More Troops For Afghanistan," USA Today, 12/29/15)

"Conditions In Afghanistan Are Getting Worse, Preventing The Clean Ending" That The Obama Administration Had Wanted. "Fifteen years into the war that few Americans talk about any more, conditions in Afghanistan are getting worse, preventing the clean ending that President Barack Obama hoped to impose before leaving office." (Deb Riechmann and Robert Burns, "Violence In Afghanistan Forces Obama To Rethink Troop Levels," The Associated Press , 2/1/16)

  • "Violence Is On The Rise, The Taliban Are Staging New Offensives, The Islamic State Group Is Angling For A Foothold And Peace Prospects Are Dim." (Deb Riechmann and Robert Burns, "Violence In Afghanistan Forces Obama To Rethink Troop Levels," The Associated Press , 2/1/16)

As Secretary, Clinton Supported Obama's "Aggressive" Troop Withdrawal Plan And Insisted The Transition Was "On Track"

As Secretary Of State In 2011, Clinton Testified Before The Senate Foreign Relations Committee That Obama Had "Hit The Mark" With His Decision To Withdraw All Troops From Afghanistan By The End Of His Presidency. SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN): "Let me ask you, do you a hundred-percent agree with what the president had to say last night?" CLINTON: "Yes, I do." CORKER: "In every facet?" CLINTON: "Yes, I do, Senator. And this was an -- a very open, candid discussion within the national security team. Obviously, people forthrightly presented their own views. It will not surprise you that the views ranged across the spectrum about what should be done and what should not be done. But I think that the president, you know, with his decision, has hit the mark." (Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 6/23/11)

When Asked If She Agreed "100 Percent" With Obama's Afghan Withdrawal Plan, Clinton Said "Yes I Do," And Said She Supported "Every Facet" Of The Announcement. BOB CORKER: "Let me ask you, do you a hundred-percent agree with what the president had to say last night?" CLINTON: "Yes, I do."CORKER: "In every facet?" CLINTON: "Yes, I do, Senator. And this was an -- a very open, candid discussion within the national security team. Obviously, people forthrightly presented their own views. It will not surprise you that the views ranged across the spectrum about what should be done and what should not be done. But I think that the president, you know, with his decision, has hit the mark." (Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 6/23/11)

  • Clinton On Obama's Troop Withdrawal Plan: "But The Bottom Line…Is That We Have Broken The Taliban's Momentum. So We Do Begin This Drawdown From A Position Of Strength." CLINTON: "First, let me say a word about the military effort. Last night, the President explained his plan to begin drawing down our forces next month and transitioning to Afghan responsibility. I will leave it to my colleagues from the Defense Department to discuss the specifics. But the bottom line, as the President said, is that we have broken the Taliban's momentum. So we do begin this drawdown from a position of strength." (Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 6/23/11)

Al Qaeda Is Making A Resurgence

While ISIS Dominates Headlines, Al Qaeda Is Making A Resurgence, Grabbing Territory And Increasing Attacks. "Intelligence analysts paid close attention last month when al Qaeda's master bombmaker, Ibrahim al Asiri - whose name tops U.S. kill lists - issued an audiotape from his hiding place…In 2016, however, a resurgent al Qaeda is emerging from the shadows. While ISIS has been soaking up headlines, its older sibling has been launching attacks and grabbing territory too, and U.S. intelligence officials tell NBC News they are increasingly concerned the older terror group is poised to build on its achievements." (Ken Dilanian, "Al Qaeda Makes A Comeback," NBC News, 2/29/16)

  • DNI Clapper: "Al Qaeda Affiliates Have Proven Resilient And Are Positioned To Make Gains In 2016." "Al-Qa'ida's affiliates have proven resilient and are positioned to make gains in 2016." (DNI James Clapper, Worldwide Threat Assessment Of The US Intelligence Community, House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence , 2/25/16, pg. 4)

Afghanistan's Top Defense Official Warned That Al Qaeda Is "Very Active," A "Big Threat" To The Country, And There May Be More Core Operatives Than Previously Thought. "Afghanistan's top defense official has warned that al Qaeda -- the reason the United States first invaded Afghanistan -- is 'very active' and a 'big threat' in the country. A senior U.S. official said they were concerned about al Qaeda leaders in remote areas of the country and there may be many more core operatives in Afghanistan than previously thought." (Nick Walsh, "Al Qaeda 'Very Active' In Afghanistan: U.S. Commander," CNN, 4/13/16)

  • Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanikzai Said "They Are Working Behind Other Networks, Giving Them Support And The Experience They Had In Different Places. And Double Their Resources And Recruitment And Other Things." "Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanikzai told CNN that al Qaeda were keeping a low profile but expanding. 'They are really very active. They are working in quiet and reorganizing themselves and preparing themselves for bigger attacks,' he said. 'They are working behind other networks, giving them support and the experience they had in different places. And double their resources and recruitment and other things. That is how -- they are not talking too much. They are not making press statements. It is a big threat.'" (Nick Walsh, "Al Qaeda 'Very Active' In Afghanistan: U.S. Commander," CNN, 4/13/16)
  • There Could Be As Many As 300 Core Al Qaeda Operatives In Afghanistan. "U.S. officials said the number of core al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan could be as high as 300, but that number does include other facilitators and sympathizers in their network." (Nick Walsh, "Al Qaeda 'Very Active' In Afghanistan: U.S. Commander," CNN, 4/13/16)

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