US troop drawdown from Afghanistan a tragedy: McCain
KABUL (Pajhwok): US Senator John McCain on Saturday asked the Obama administration to reassess withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in the wake of an unprecedented increase in Taliban attacks, Iran's rising support to the group and the emergence of Daesh.
Speaking at a press conference in Kabul after his meetings with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah, McCain said Taliban attacks had been successfully thwarted by Afghan forces in different parts of the country, but at a cost of heavy casualties.
The influential Republican lawmaker believed the Afghan security forces direly needed US assistance in areas of intelligence, conducting special operations, logistic and air support in the future.
He said the US was fully aware of the challenges being faced by Afghanistan's civilian and military leadership . He supported President Ghani’s vision and his demands from the US.
Lambasting President Obama’s decision of troops’ pullout plan, MacCain said the US should have gained its goals in Afghanistan before leaving.
He said the rise of ISIS and the distinct fighting season this year demanded a reassessment of the administration's current calendar-driven drawdown of US forces with a plan that must be based on conditions on the ground.
Barack Obama, at the height of tensions with former president Hamid Karzai, announced the gradual withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, with only 1,000 troops left behind as trainers
McCain said recent attacks by the Taliban showed they had not been entirely defeated.
Commenting over casualties among US and Afghan forces in the Afghanistan war, he said the use of force was not the only solution, thus the US must support peace efforts in Afghanistan to ensure that the country did not become a safe haven for terrorists again.
“We have always been hopeful about a prospect of dialogue between Afghanistan and Taliban. Without that I’m deeply concerned about Afghanistan’s situation in the west, where Taliban have control over some areas and there are reports of Iranian weapons being sent to Taliban,” McCain remarked.
The visiting dignitary continued: “We are also concerned about some parts in east of Afghanistan. We face a new phenomenon like Daesh that have shown capability of attracting youth to its ranks. Some foreign fighters are also fighting alongside them.”
He said recent clashes between Daesh and the Taliban could have a short-term advantage for Afghanistan but in the long-run it would not have any advantage for Afghanistan.
McCain called America’s troop drawdown from Afghanistan a tragedy, fearing it would enable Taliban to succeed. He said the Afghan people did not want a return of the Taliban.
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