McCain faults Obama’s plan for troop pullout
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): An influential American lawmaker has voiced serious concern over the plan for US military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In an interview with Voice of America on Wednesday, Senator John McCain alleged President Barack Obama's plan was encouraging the Taliban.
In early October 2015, Obama announced keeping more than 5,500 troops in Afghanistan beyond the end of his term. Under his decision, 9,800 American troops would remain in Afghanistan through 2016.
The US military will keep 5,500 troops in Kabul and at a few bases, including those in Bagram, Jalalabad and Kandahar.
But the Republican senator from Arizona said the pullout strategy worried him a great deal. He said the next US president would have to maintain a much larger force in Afghanistan.
As the security environment in the war-torn country has considerably deteriorated due to a spike in insurgent-linked violence, the former presidential runner believed Afghanistan could even need a permanent US presence.
The Taliban had bases in neighbouring Pakistan, from where they staged attacks on Afghan forces and inflicted casualties on them, he noted, faulting Obama’s strategy.
“The main thing is that we send the Taliban the message we are not leaving Afghanistan. But the president keeps telling them we are leaving; which can only encourage the Taliban,” he remarked.
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