“Not one of us would say that we are on a course to success in Afghanistan,” U.S. senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, told a room full of journalists, U.S. soldiers and diplomatic staff in Kabul on July 4, 2017.
McCain was accompanied by Senators Lindsey Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren and David Perdue. Together they visited Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates to assess America’s longest-ever war.
Their conclusions were not optimistic.
With the Taliban, Islamic State, the Haqqani network and other insurgents fast gaining ground, the delegation was unanimous on the need to bolster American forces. Pres. Donald Trump appears likely boost the 8,600-strong U.S. contingent in Afghanistan by as many as 5,000 additional troops in coming months.
“The one thing I will tell [Trump] about this visit is that you need to pull all of our troops out — because 8,600 will not get the job done — or add to their numbers,” Graham said, adding that he would also suggest a significant increase in U.S. air power in Afghanistan.
The senatorial delegation did not, however, agree on the long-term U.S. approach to the Afghanistan war. “It will probably be a low burning, simmering crisis for many years to come,” McCain said.
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