Sep 23 2014

Statement by Senators Graham and McCain Urging President to Adopt Conditions-Based Drawdown Plan and Residual Force in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona) today released the following statement on President-elect Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah agreeing to a national unity government in Afghanistan, and the need for conditions-based drawdown plan and commitment to residual force:

"We commend President-elect Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah for agreeing to a national unity government in Afghanistan, and thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his hard work to bring both sides together. We also commend the Afghan people for their patience with this process and commitment to a democratic future. It is now essential for the national unity government to take immediate steps to enhance its democratic legitimacy, without which stability and security in Afghanistan cannot endure. That means fulfilling the campaign pledges that led Afghans to vote in record numbers, especially better governance and fighting corruption.

"We are confident that the new Afghan government can be, and wants to be, a close partner of the United States. Indeed, President-elect Ghani has said he intends to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement as one of his first acts. We strongly urge President Obama to replace his plan for unconditional withdrawal from Afghanistan with a conditions-based drawdown and a clear commitment to maintain a limited residual force. If the President repeats his mistakes from Iraq and withdraws all U.S. troops from Afghanistan based on a date certain on a calendar, we fear a similar failure will unfold in Afghanistan as we have seen Iraq: growing instability, harm to our partners, and direct threats to the United States."