President Trump and his administration must treat Afghanistan with the same urgency as the fight against the Islamic State, two U.S. lawmakers have said.
The urge was made by John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the committee, in an opinion article published on Washington Post on Tuesday.
Citing call by commander of international forces in Afghanistan who described situation a stalemate, the senators said that the stalemate could slide into strategic failure if Trump doesn’t treat Afghanistan with urgency.
“Make no mistake: Afghans are fighting ferociously to defend their country from our common enemies. At the same time, we must recognize the United States is still at war in Afghanistan against the terrorist enemies who attacked our nation on Sept.11 and their ideological heirs. We must act accordingly,” they said in the article.
The senators claimed that U.S. tied hands of its military in Afghanistan. “Instead of trying to win, we have settled for just trying not to lose.”
They linked troop withdrawals from Afghanistan with U.S. politics than conditions on the ground.
They said that terror threat has intensified in Afghanistan with Taliban growing more lethal and expanding its territorial control, al-Qaeda and Haqqani network threating “our interests” and the Islamic State group trying to carve out another haven.
“U.S. efforts to confront these terrorist threats are continually frustrated by terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan used to attack across its border,” they wrote in the article.
“President Trump has an important opportunity to turn the page, seize the initiative and take the fight to our terrorist enemies. To do this the United States must align ends, ways and means in Afghanistan.”
The senators said that the strategy for success in Afghanistan will require not only additional U.S. forces but also sustained support of the Afghan forces as they develop key capabilities.