Mar 23 2015

Statement By Graham and McCain on Afghanistan

Contact: Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Lorcan Connick (202) 224-5972

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona) today released the following statement on reports that the Obama Administration is holding to an arbitrary calendar date - rather than conditions on the ground - for the final U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan:

"While we have been encouraged by word that the Obama Administration may slow the rate of its military drawdown in Afghanistan, we are deeply concerned by reports that the Administration is holding to an arbitrary calendar date for the final U.S. withdrawal, rather than one based upon conditions on the ground. Such a course would put at immediate risk all gains achieved over thirteen years of war in Afghanistan.

"Our Afghan partners are stepping up to own the fight to secure their country against insurgents and terrorists. Afghan forces are making real progress, but they will not have reached full capability by the end of 2016. Our continued commitment will help to train, advise, and assist Afghan forces in intelligence, logistics, combat aviation and airlift, and special forces. These are the same capabilities Iraqi forces were missing when the United States precipitously withdrew at the end of 2011. We must not repeat this mistake. But that is exactly what will happen if President Obama insists on withdrawing from Afghanistan whether the job is done or not."