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    McCain, Lieberman, Graham: US committed to Afghan future

    McCain, Lieberman, Graham: US committed to Afghan future

    Photo By Master Sgt. Michael O'Connor | Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., talks about how he sees Afghanistan shaping up as NATO...... read more read more

    KABUL, Afghanistan - Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said July 3 that the Obama administration’s plan to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by 33,000 should not be misunderstood.

    Following McCain’s appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the senators spoke about their concerns with President Barack Obama’s plan to bring home 10,000 troops by the end of the year and another 23,000 by September 2012 at a press conference held at International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Kabul.

    “I know there is some concern amongst Afghans about the pace of the beginning of withdrawal of our surge troops,” said Lieberman. “We have tried to reassure everyone that the commitment that America has made, in fact the international community has made, to a free and independent Afghanistan is strong, steadfast and lasting.”

    Since September 2009, the average number of Afghans joining the army and police forces has risen from about 1,200 to 6,000 monthly with more than 300,000 currently available to defend the people and government of Afghanistan.

    While killing your way into security is not the only way to achieve security in the war on terror, Graham said Osama Bin Laden’s death was something that was long overdue and that justice was brought to an individual.

    “There’s been a definite, clear increase in the sense of security among the Afghan people as I see it,” said Lieberman. “But as Sen. McCain has said, ‘Unfortunately, this is the age in which we live.’ Extremist terrorists who are crazy enough to want to blow themselves up and kill other people will continue to have the capacity to do that, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but in the United States of America as we have seen. So we’ve got to look at the change here in perspective. I think overall, the security trend lines are moving very, very positively in the right direction.”

    “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Taliban still has the capability of mounting a spectacular attack, but that does not mean, in my view, that they haven’t been diminished dramatically,” said McCain. “The mid-level of the Taliban that resides in Afghanistan has been significantly impaired, [whereas] the leadership in Pakistan hasn’t been.”

    Lieberman said he hopes to see a strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan negotiated which will be tangible evidence of America’s long-term commitment to a strong U.S.-Afghanistan relationship.

    “We’re certainly going to be here in great numbers until the end of 2014, and I hope as a result of a strategic long-term partnership between the U.S. and Afghanistan, that we will have a military presence here in cooperation with our Afghan partners for a long time after that,” said Lieberman. “I think it’s in the interest of Afghanistan and the United States.”

    During their trip to Afghanistan, the senators met and talked with Afghan government and non-governmental organizations and spent time with U.S. forces on the ground thanking them for their continued service and sacrifice.

    “We will succeed here in Afghanistan and the Afghan people will celebrate a Fourth of July in true and complete freedom,” said McCain.



    Date Taken: 07.03.2011
    Date Posted: 07.04.2011 09:42
    Story ID: 73204
    Location: KABUL, AF 

    Web Views: 213
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