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Durbin: Obama On Right Track In Withdrawal From Afghanistan

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) addresses a GOP House transportation bill that would dramatically cut funding for Amtrak and mass transit. (Credit: CBS)

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Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he believes President Barack Obama is on the right track in efforts to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

“It’s up to the Afghans to decide their future,” Durbin said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Although U.S. and NATO combat troops are to be out of Afghanistan by 2014 under the pact signed with the Karzai government Tuesday, Durbin concedes that it commits some U.S. forces to remain until 2024.

“But you’ll note that the presence changes dramatically,” Durbin said. “Instead of leaving American service men and women in vulnerable and dangerous positions, we start pulling back, getting into a training mode with the Afghans. They are in the forward flanks in terms of the defense of their country. That’s the only way this works.”

Durbin said the U.S. wants to assure enough stability so that Afghanistan does not once again become a “terrorist training camp.” He said the U.S. exit plan bears no resemblance to the Soviet retreat in 1988.

He said he has advised President Obama to get combat troops out as soon as possible.

“The President told me, ‘I’m unwinding this as fast as I responsibly can,'” he said.