(WASHINGTON) — As President Obama prepares to speak to the nation Wednesday in a primetime address on Afghanistan, House Speaker John Boehner says that while he is “concerned about any precipitous withdrawal of our troops that would jeopardize the success that we’ve made,” he would support the president’s judgment as long as he follows recommendations from commanders and diplomats in the region.
Asked whether he sensed that House Republicans were growing wary of the mission in Afghanistan, the speaker said that the sentiment of lawmakers “on both sides of the aisle reflect the opinions and attitudes of their constituents.”
“The American people are a bit wary about Afghanistan, and you can’t blame them,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “You have 100,000 of our young men and women fighting in this desert over there, but remember why we’re there. We’re there because the Taliban had taken over Afghanistan, they had provided safe haven to al-Qaeda, and as a result, al-Qaeda had safe ground in which to plan, train, and execute attacks on Americans and our allies around the world.”
“The goal here is to make sure that they don’t have that safe haven, and so we’ve got some work to do, but clearly the success that General Petraeus outlined is in fact a success. We’re getting there, but we’ve got an awful lot invested here, and I’m concerned about any precipitous withdrawal of our troops that would jeopardize the success that we’ve made,” he added. “If the president listens to the commanders on the ground, and our diplomats in the region, makes a decision, I’ll be there to support him. Success in Afghanistan is critically important.”
Boehner added that he has not been briefed by the White House on the president’s plans to reduce troop levels.