Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are calling on the Trump administration to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
In a column for The Washington Post, both senators said President Donald Trump needs to end the stalemate the U.S. now faces in Afghanistan.
“On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida terrorists murdered 3,000 innocent civilians on American soil while under the sanctuary of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” the senators said.
“In response to that attack, U.S. and NATO forces deployed to Afghanistan to hunt down those responsible and ensure that Afghanistan would never again be a haven for terrorists. Since then, more than 2,000 American sand more than 1,000 troops from our NATO allies have given their lives to that mission.”
But they noted Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan recently said the battle is a stalemate.
“President Trump and his administration must treat Afghanistan with the same urgency as the fight against the Islamic State, or this stalemate risks sliding into strategic failure,” McCain and Graham said.
“Unfortunately, in recent years, we have tied the hands of our military in Afghanistan. Instead of trying to win, we have settled for just trying not to lose.”
McCain and Graham said the U.S. goal is to prevent terrorists from using Afghanistan “to attack our homeland.”
“Our assessment, based on our conversations with commanders on the ground, is that a strategy for success will require additional U.S. and coalition forces and more flexible authorities,” the senators said in the column.
“It will also require sustained support of the Afghan security forces as they develop key capabilities, especially offensive capabilities such as special operations forces and close air support needed to break the stalemate.
“Weary as some Americans may be of this long conflict, it is imperative that we see our mission through to success. We have seen what happens when we fail to be vigilant. The threats we face are real.”