11 August 2017

News Story: McCain offers Afghanistan strategy amid Trump’s indecision

US Senator John McCain
(Image: Wiki Commons)
By: Joe Gould

WASHINGTON — Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has announced his own strategy for the war in Afghanistan, he says, because the Trump administration is lagging.

Calling America “adrift in Afghanistan,” McCain is offering a civil-military strategy that adds more U.S. counterterror troops and more pressure on Pakistan to not provide sanctuary to the Taliban and Haqqani network.

Counterterror troops would maintain an enduring presence, per a proposed agreement with the Afghan government. The U.S. would also provide air power and troops to advise Afghan forces at kandak, or battalion, level.

McCain, R-Ariz., announced Thursday he would offer the strategy as an amendment to the 2018 defense policy bill. He is undergoing cancer treatment but has said he plans to spearhead the bill when Congress resumes in early September.

The “sense of Congress” amendment is nonbinding, but, if adopted, it would send a signal from the legislative branch to the White House. It comes as restless lawmakers have rapped U.S. President Donald Trump for his blustery rhetoric on North Korea, called for a new debate on a war authorization and demanded Trump provide plans for the fight against the Islamic State group.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis promised Congress in June he would deliver a new military strategy for Afghanistan by mid-July. At the time, McCain warned him that absent a strategy from the administration, “you’re going to get a strategy from us.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews