Intelligence Committee chairwoman open to delaying Afghan deadline

The Hill

The chairwoman of the Select Intelligence Committee said she is “absolutely” open to delaying the July 2011 date for a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on Fox News Sunday this morning that if Gen. David Petraeus wants more time in Afghanistan, she’d support him.

“I would say give it to him, absolutely,” she said. “Now, let’s talk about the deadline. This is a transition point toward the beginning of a withdrawal or a draw down, as Petraeus said in his transcript before the armed services.”

Feinstein suggested that in the course of such a long war, an extra six months–the time period she was asked about–wouldn’t be that long.

“I think [Petraeus] has flexibility, realistically. Ten years is a long time to fight a war, particularly with what happened before the 10 years,” she said. “And so we need to understand that to get the military trained, get the government online, secure and stabilize and, I think, do away with the drugs to a great extent — because the drugs are now fueling the Taliban.”

Senate Armed Services chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said this morning that Petraeus supports the July 2011 date.