U.S. General David Petraeus made no mention of July 2011 as he formally took command of international troops in Afghanistan fighting a growing Taliban insurgency.
“We are in this to win,” Petreaus said at the change-of-command ceremony on Sunday in Kabul. Petreaus is also charged with starting a drawdown of U.S. forces a year from now — President Barack Obama’s stated goal.
That date does not sit well with Republican lawmakers, who adamantly oppose any timetable for withdrawal.
In Kabul, two top Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee addressed their concerns as Petreaus was saying the war in Afghanistan had reached a “critical moment.”
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said they’re all for setting goals for a transition — but only after the mission is complete. And they both repeated their view that talking about a “date certain” for withdrawal sends the wrong signal.