U.S. Senator McCain Announces His Own Strategy for Afghanistan
KABUL (Tolo News): U.S. Senator John McCain on Thursday revealed his own strategy for the United States in Afghanistan because President Donald Trump’s administration isn’t coming up with one, he says.
Media reported McCain’s Afghan strategy includes adding more U.S. troops for counter terrorism missions; increasing U.S. air power to assist Afghan forces; and providing the U.S. military with broader authority to target enemy forces including the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda and Daesh.
McCain also would have the U.S. military advising Afghan forces at the Kandak, or battalion level.
“We must face facts: we are losing in Afghanistan and time is of the essence if we intend to turn the tide,” McCain said in a statement.
“We need an integrated civil-military approach to bolster U.S. counterterrorism efforts, strengthen the capability and capacity of the Afghan government and security forces, and intensify diplomatic efforts to facilitate a negotiated peace process in Afghanistan in cooperation with regional partners.”
McCain wants his country to enter into an agreement with the Afghan government for an enduring U.S. counterterrorism presence in Afghanistan, and he wants to put more pressure on Pakistan to stop providing sanctuaries to the Taliban and Haqqani Network.
He has said the goal is to create security conditions in the country that would bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
McCain has repeatedly criticized Trump and his national security team for failing to come up with a strategy for Afghanistan.
The Trump White House has been divided between two factions, with the U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster seeking to bolster American troops in Afghanistan, and Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon opposing additional U.S. forces.
McCain outlined his plan as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill he sponsors as chairman of the Senate armed services committee.
McCain, who currently is undergoing cancer treatment, plans to return to the Senate next month so the bill can be debated.