07:44 GMT +321 August 2019
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    Sen. John McCain

    John McCain: US Will Lose Afghanistan War Unless More Troops are Deployed

    © AFP 2019 / Ross D. Franklin
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    Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said during a visit to US soldiers stationed in Kabul that America’s troop presence should never be reduced or else the international mission in Afghanistan will fall apart.

    According to a statement made by a group of US Senators who greeted the soldiers for the July 4th holiday, the international military mission cannot succeed if President Obama's suggested reduction in forces advances. The delegation included Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Benjamin Sasse, and Joe Donnelly.

    The lawmakers blasted Barack Obama's plan to reduce US military presence in Afghanistan from 9,800 to 5,500 troops by the end of the year. As the decision is not yet made, it is a subject to fierce discussion.

    "I cannot guarantee success if we keep 9,800, but I can ensure you failure if we go to 5,500," Graham said to reporters.

    "I will have a hard time supporting our continued presence here as it's not fair to those left behind… They just can't do the job. If we go to 5,500 this place will fall apart, quickly," media quotes Graham saying in an interview.

    The Obama administration should decide on troop levels "sooner rather than later," McCain said, arguing that reducing the military presence might lead to a situation similar to Iraq, where Daesh terrorists seized major cities and a significant portion of country's territory.

    McCain repeatedly criticized Obama's decision to restrict US troops' rules of engagement to self-defense only, preventing US military from proactively targeting Taliban forces. These rules of engagement have eventually been relaxed, but the fact that they lasted for almost a year, according to McCain, is "almost criminal".

    "Ultimately we're going to win this fight, it's just going to take decades," said Benjamin Sasse. "The American people will understand that staying partnered with a good ally like the Afghan government is the best way to deny future safe havens to those who would plot jihadi attacks across the globe."


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