Support among House Democrats for President Barack Obama's war policy in Afghanistan is being challenged by recent military and political setbacks in the region, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday.
"Clearly, as is usually the case, it hasn't gone as smoothly as I think we would have liked, or as was contemplated," Hoyer said, according to The Hill newspaper
. "I think there's a significant amount of concern about Afghanistan. I think we all share that concern."
Hoyer (D-Md.), No. 2 in the hierarchy on the majority side, has been a strong supporter of Obama's plans in Afghanistan and Iraq, but bloody battles with Taliban insurgents and corruption in the Kabul government have taken a toll among his colleagues, he said at a news conference. "Do you hear discussion of it?" he said. "I think the answer is yes."
In the Senate, a report on progress in Afghanistan was cut short Tuesday when Gen. David Petraeus, who oversees the war effort as head of the Army Central Command, briefly took ill. He quickly recovered but the Armed Services Committee hearing was postponed until Wednesday. In brief testimony, Petraeus said plans for the beginning of troop withdrawals in July 2011 were still "condition based." Asked directly for his personal and professional judgment on the pull-out plan, he said, "In a perfect world . . . we have to be very careful with timelines."