Politics & Government

Afghanistan plan divides California's Senate Democrats

WASHINGTON — California's Democratic senators found themselves on opposite sides of the aisle in response to President Barack Obama's request to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein supports it, while Sen. Barbara Boxer opposes the plan.

"I support the President's mission and exit strategy for Afghanistan, but I do not support adding more troops because there are now 200,000 American, NATO and Afghan forces fighting roughly 20,000 Taliban and less than 100 al Qaida," Boxer said.

Feinstein said that Republicans and Democrats alike should support Obama, which "will allow us to reverse the Taliban's gains and deny terrorists a safe haven while limiting the duration of our commitment."

She said the president's plan had been carefully deliberated and had the support of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

"It recognizes the severity of the situation, calls for strong cooperation from NATO partners, and avoids an open-ended commitment," Feinstein said. "However, Taliban forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan . . . and other extremist groups represent a real and significant threat to the security of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Unchecked, they threaten the United States and our allies as well."

Sacramento Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui said she was encouraged by Obama's "clear commitment to bring our military involvement in Afghanistan to a conclusion."

"Ensuring the long-term safety, security, and prosperity of our nation must be our top priority as we decide what to do next in central Asia," she said.