The increasingly violent and unpopular war in Afghanistan, which many now compare to U.S. mistakes in Vietnam, is drawing growing opposition in Congress.
The political divide could derail Obama administration plans to send more troops into the troubled conflict.
Senate Democrats Friday said any attempt by Obama to send more troops into harm’s war in Afghanistan will hit resistance from his own party. The word to the White House came as U.S. troops blew up tanker trucks hijacked by the Taliban, leaving 70 dead, including Afghan civilians.
Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the American policy should work more to build up Afghanistan’s security forces and less on direct war action. Sen. Jack Reed, another member of the committee, joined Levin in voicing concern.
That deadly U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan Friday complicates the debate over the need for more U.S. troops, bolstering arguments that Afghan leaders must increasingly fend for themselves.
The senators will return to Washington next week, just as President Barack Obama receives a new military review of Afghanistan strategy that officials expect will be followed up by a request for at least a modest increase in U.S. troops battling insurgents in the 8-year-old war.
Obama came into office pledging to shift U.S. focus from the war in Iraq to the Afghan fight, which had long been a secondary priority. But as war-weary Americans have watched another 21,000 troops go to Afghanistan this year, and U.S. casualties rise, support for the war has waned.