Afghan President Addresses Joint Meeting of Congress
Time Warner Cable - By Geoff Bennett
Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 01:00 PM CDT
A warm reception from both Democrats and Republicans greeted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as the country’s new leader addressed a joint meeting of Congress Wednesday.
Ghani's visit to the United States is part of a larger effort to repair relations between the two countries, strained after nearly 14 years of war.
"The service of American men and women – civilian or military – in our country has been made possible by the bipartisan support of the Congress of the United States. On behalf of our Parliament and people, I salute and thank you,” Ghani said.
Ghani’s speech came a day after President Barack Obama announced during a joint news conference that there will not be a drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan this year, as was previously planned.
“President Ghani has requested some flexibility on our drawdown timelines. I've consulted with General Campbell in Afghanistan, my national security team, and I've decided that we'll maintain our current posture of 9,800 troops through the end of this year,” Obama said.
Obama says the U.S. forces that remain in Afghanistan will not take on a combat role. They’ll instead continue to provide training and support for Afghan forces.
The Obama administration is shifting strategies out of concern that the Islamic State terrorist group might gain a foothold in Afghanistan, reversing the gains made in America’s longest war.
Republican Congressman Will Hurd says he backs the new Afghanistan strategy.
“Combat operations have been turned over to the Afghan military, and they’re showing their ability to perform. They still need people to train and equip them, and I think the level of forces that are there – if combatant commanders support it, then I definitely support it," he said.
Obama says there will still be a final drawdown of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the time he leaves office.