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McCain, who backed invasion of Afghanistan, dies at 81

McCain, who backed invasion of Afghanistan, dies at 81

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Aug 26, 2018 - 13:15

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A staunch supporter of the war in Afghanistaninfo-icon, influential US Senator John McCain has lost a five-year battle to brain cancer.

An unsuccessful presidential runner, McCain was a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was widely seen as a Senate hawk,

Having spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he was nominated as a Republican presidential candidate in 2008.

McCain, who served Arizona for more than 30 years on Capitol Hill, died on Saturday at 81, according to a statement from his office. His wife and other family members were with him.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, McCain rose to the US Senate in 1987, replacing Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater after two terms.

He re-elected to the Senate in 1992, 1998, 2004, 2010 and 2016. He became Arizona’s senior senator in 1995 and chairman of the influential Armed Services Committee in 2015.

Born in 1936 at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, McCain attended the USNaval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

During the Vietnam War, he survived a maritime disaster on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal that killed 134 people and nearly sank the ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, according to US media reports.

As he readied to take off from the deck, another plane accidentally fired a missile and hit his plane, spilling fuel. He was wounded by shrapnel and narrowly escaped death himself in the blaze that followed.

He was captured and would spend more than five brutal years as a prisoner of war. He declined the offer of early release. McCain was allegedly routinely beaten in custody. He was freed along with other POWs in 1973.

Opposing the Bush administration’s torture of enemy combatants in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, McCain backed the invasion of Afghanistan and the second Iraq war.

Meghan McCain, the senator’s daughter, tweeted: "My father is gone, and I miss him as only an adoring daughter can. But in this loss, and in this sorrow, I take comfort in this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth."

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said in a statement that it "is an understatement to say the Senate will not be the same without our friend John".

He added: "The nation mourns the loss of a great American patriot, statesman who put his country first and enriched this institution through many years of service."

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