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US Should Maintain Residual Armed Forces in Afghanistan – John McCain

Sputnik News

20:40 11.02.2015(updated 21:08 11.02.2015)

US Senator John McCain said the United States should continue a residual military presence in Afghanistan to maintain the progress achieved in previous years; otherwise, Afghanistan will follow Iraq's fate and disintegrate into chaos.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States should continue a residual military presence in Afghanistan, if it wants to maintain the progress achieved by US armed forces in previous years, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee US Senator John McCain said in an opening statement at a Committee hearing.

"To preserve the progress enabled by our troops and the Afghan people, [US] President [Barack] Obama must replace his plan for unconditional withdrawal from Afghanistan with a conditions-based drawdown and a clear commitment to maintain a limited residual force," McCain said on Wednesday.

The Senator urged President Obama to avoid repeating mistakes from Iraq by leaving Afghanistan too quickly.

"If the President repeats his mistakes from Iraq, we can expect a similar disaster in Afghanistan: growing instability, terrorist safe havens, horrific human rights abuses, the rapid dissolution of the hard-won gains that our men and women in uniform purchased as such high cost, and ultimately, direct threats to the United States," McCain said.

Afghanistan is facing an initial emergence of IS, as well as the residual capabilities of al-Qaeda and the Taliban insurgency, McCain added, and the United States should not allow the country to become a sanctuary for terrorist organizations.

A withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan was first announced in May 2014. In December 2014, the drawdown schedule was adjusted for the first time.

US military officials decided to keep 10,800 soldiers in Afghanistan by early 2015, while the previous target was to retain less than 10,000 soldiers by the end of NATO's 14-year combat mission on December 31, 2014.

Sputnik



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