(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration is under pressure from one influential Democratic leader to make a sizable reduction of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2011.
Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday that the White House should consider withdrawing at least 15,000 U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan. That represents 15 percent of the fighting force currently in that country.
The Michigan lawmaker is speaking out before the White House makes its determination on just how many troops it will bring home beginning in July.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates favors a small to moderate drawdown of forces, perhaps as few as 5,000 or less.
The White House said that the president's decision will be based on "conditions on the ground."
However, Levin is adamant that the administration get serious about finally extricating the U.S. military from the conflict, which will mark its 10-year anniversary in October. He added that "there are billions of dollars involved in this decision."
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