Monday, March 13, 2017

John McCain and Lindsey Graham: Why we need more forces to end the stalemate in Afghanistan

On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists murdered 3,000 innocent civilians on American soil while under the sanctuary of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. In response to that attack, U.S. and NATO forces deployed to Afghanistan to hunt down those responsible and ensure that Afghanistan would never again be a haven for terrorists. Since then, more than 2,000 Americans and more than 1,000 troops from our NATO allies have given their lives to that mission.

But after more than a decade-and-a-half of war, Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that the war in Afghanistan is in a stalemate. President Trump and his administration must treat Afghanistan with the same urgency as the fight against the Islamic State, or this stalemate risks sliding into strategic failure.

This month, two simultaneous suicide attacks by the Taliban in Kabul killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 40. In northern Afghanistan, the Taliban overran another district. These setbacks came on the heels of disturbing losses across the country. Nicholson recently confirmed an inspector general report that the Afghan government controls or influences just 57 percent of the country‚Äôs districts, down from 72 percent just over a year ago.

Make no mistake: Afghans are fighting ferociously to defend their country from our common enemies. At the same time, we must recognize that the United States is still at war in Afghanistan against the terrorist enemies who attacked our nation on Sept. 11 and their ideological heirs. We must act accordingly.

Unfortunately, in recent years, we have tied the hands of our military in Afghanistan. Instead of trying to win, we have settled for just trying not to lose. - Read More, washingtonpost

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