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U.S. Senate Backs Faster Afghanistan Military Withdrawal

The U.S. still has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan.
The U.S. Senate has voted in favor of speeding up the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

The Senate voted 62-33 on a nonbinding amendment to a defense policy bill calling for the quicker pullout.

Analysts say the vote is likely to send a clear message to President Barack Obama and the military as they debate the pace of drawing down the 66,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Senator Jeff Merkley, the chief sponsor, argued that Al-Qaeda is stronger in other parts of the world and that nation-building in Afghanistan has largely failed.

On November 29, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States will need to keep troops in Afghanistan even after the combat mission ends because of the presence of Al-Qaeda there.
Based on reporting by AP and MSNBC