WASHINGTON -- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement on June 22, following the president's address on Afghanistan:
"The president’s decision represents a positive development, although in my view the conditions on the ground justify an even larger drawdown of U.S. troops this year than the president announced tonight. I will continue to advocate for an accelerated drawdown in the months ahead, and for enhanced training and partnering with Afghan forces, because only they can provide durable security for their nation.
"The conditions justifying a larger drawdown include the progress U.S. and Afghan troops and our allies have made to improve security in Afghanistan; the faster than expected growth of the Afghan security forces; the death of Osama bin Laden and the decreasing number of al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan; and the need to transition as quickly as possible to Afghan responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to increase the chances for long-term success of the mission there."
Background on Afghan National Security forces:
• The Afghan National Security Forces are ahead of schedule to meet their target of 305,000 by October of this year.
• There are more than 100,000 more Afghan soldiers and police than there were when the U.S. troop surge began.
• 96 percent of Afghan army units and 83 percent of police units in key terrain districts are partnered with ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) units.
• From April 2010 to March 2011, the number of major operations that were conducted with partnered Afghan units rose from 54 percent to 95 percent across all the regional commands.
Editor's Note: To watch and listen to President Obama's June 22 speech, visit the White House Blog.