Senator McCain: USA must reassess Afghan troop withdrawal

In this video frame grab, Sen.


But McCain said that with the rise and spread of Taliban attacks amid the past drawdown of US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops and the emergence of Islamic State in Afghanistan, Obama’s timetable will put at risk the gains made since the fall of the Taliban government.

“A calendar-based withdrawal – that would be a tragedy, and in my view, an opening for the Taliban to gain and create success here in Afghanistan“, John McCain says in Kabul.

After a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, McCain says that the U.S. could look at a complete intelligence assessment of the ground reality, especially the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after 2016.

But the current USA administration would like to see a total exit for its personnel over the next 15 months, a decision McCain said required a “reassessment”. The worldwide numbers will be reduced further at the end of 2016.

Nato’s combat mission formally ended in December after 13 years, but a small follow-up foreign force named Resolute Support has stayed on.

KABUL-Afghanistan’s parliament on Saturday rejected President Ashraf Ghani’s nominee for defense ministry, a crucial post that has sat vacant for months as stretched security forces fight to secure territory from a revitalized Taliban.

Stanekzai needed 107 votes from MPs to be approved, but received just 84 out of the 213 who cast votes, dragging out the process of finding a candidate for the post into its 10th month.

Stanekzai’s rejection reflects in part a power struggle between Ghani and Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

And in a sign of the political malaise the government is facing in its attempts to improve the country’s security situation, Afghanistan’s parliament on Saturday rejected Ghani’s nominee for defence minister for the second time.

Stanekzai is better known as a peacemaker, having led the High Peace Council negotiating body charged with ending the conflict with the Taliban. He has been serving as the country’s top defense official in an acting capacity.

Ghani’s previous pick for the post, ex- Afghan army chief of staff Sher Mohammad Karimi, was also rejected by the lower house in January.

Also Saturday, men on a motorcycle attacked a pair of schoolgirls in the western city of Herat, throwing an unknown chemical substance in their faces, authorities said.

It was not clear what sort of substance was used in the attack but it was not acid, he added. At least two dozen local police were killed on Saturday after Taliban forces attacked their posts along a major highway, about 45 miles west of Kabul.


Authorities have regained control of the checkpoints, which had been overrun by Taliban fighters.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai resize