UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Military

US May Lose All Gains in Afghanistan if Withdraws Troops - Senators

Sputnik News

19:41 24.03.2015(updated 19:50 24.03.2015)

US Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain said that Afghans are making "real progress," but would not be able to reach their full capacity by the end of 2016 if US troops withdraw.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The departure date that US President Barack Obama is planning to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan is arbitrary and could put Washington's gains in the region at risk, US Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

"[W]e are deeply concerned by reports that the [Obama] Administration is holding to an arbitrary calendar date for the final US withdrawal, rather than one based upon conditions on the ground," the Senators stated. "Such a course would put at immediate risk all gains achieved over thirteen years of war in Afghanistan."

The US military maintains some 10,000 troops in Afghanistan dedicated to training the Afghan security forces as well as engaging in limited counterterrorism operations in a new mission called Resolute Support.

The Senators said that Afghans are making "real progress," but would not be able to reach their full capacity by the end of 2016 if US troops withdraw.

"These are the same capabilities Iraqi forces were missing when the United States precipitously withdrew at the end of 2011," the Senators noted. "We must not repeat this mistake. But that is exactly what will happen if President Obama insists on withdrawing from Afghanistan whether the job is done or not.'

US military presence in Afghanistan is expected to be cut to 5,500 troops by the middle of 2015, and be brought down to an embassy-level presence by the end of 2016.

The Senators' warning comes as Obama meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Washington on Tuesday to talk about issues related to security, economic development and US support for the Afghan-led reconciliation process, according to the White House.

Sputnik



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list