Tuesday, July 04, 2017

On July 4 visit to Kabul, top GOP senators say U.S. needs to 'win' in Afghanistan - washingtonpost

 A bipartisan Senate delegation Tuesday called for more U.S. troops and more aggressive American military action in Afghanistan, as well as pressure on neighboring Pakistan, saying the United States needs “a winning strategy” to end the 16-year war here and prevent the spread of terrorism.

“We are united in our concern that the present situation in Afghanistan is not on a course for success. We need to change that quickly,” Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a news conference at NATO and U.S. military headquarters in the Afghan capital at the end of a three-day visit to the region.

“America is the strongest nation on earth,” but “we are not winning, and obviously we need a new strategy to win,” McCain said. “We are frustrated that this strategy has not been articulated yet.”

The Trump administration has been working for several months on a new policy for the war-torn region, where U.S. and Afghan forces have been fighting insurgents for the past 16 years. But the plans have been delayed by internal debates, while both Afghanistan and Pakistan have faced a renewed rash of suicide bombings and insurgent attacks. 

Both McCain and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who visited Pakistan and Afghanistan this week with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) and two other committee members, said they planned to take back a message to President Trump that he needs to adopt a bold military plan for the region but also complement it with a strong and informed diplomatic policy. 

“If we leave radical Islam alone, we will not be safe at home,” Graham said. He said he plans to tell the president that “he needs to pull all our troops out” or add even more than the 3,000 to 4,000 troops that U.S. military officials have asked for, to turn the current military “stalemate into a success.”

But Graham also said that “throwing more bombs” is not enough, and that the Trump administration needs to put more effort into understanding and influencing regional leaders. “Rex Tillerson needs to come here quick,” he said, referring to the secretary of state, who has not yet visited the war-torn and insurgent-plagued region.

Many Afghan and U.S. experts have said that Washington needs to provide more political support to the faltering Afghan government and to the stalled peace process, rather than relying on a mainly military policy.  - Read More


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