President of the United States Barack Obama plans to remove almost every service member from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, and some military leaders are not happy about that. Under President Obama’s plan, the only troops who would remain in the country would be there for embassy purposes.
Army General John Campbell recently informed a panel of the Senate that he has provided President Obama with alternative options to his current plan of action.
Campbell stated, “Based on conditions on the ground, I do believe that we have to provide our senior leadership options different than the current plan we’re on, absolutely. When the president made that decision, it did not take into account the change over the last two years. So, the courses of actions that I’ve provided to my senior leadership provide options to adjust that.”
Campbell declined to elaborate on his recommendations.
The situation in Afghanistan has changed in many ways since President Obama announced his plan of removing all troops from the country. The Middle East has seen a rise in forces from the Islamic State, and Afghanistan is facing pressure from the military operations of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain has criticized the Obama Administration for staying true to their plan. McCain has warned President Obama that a quick withdrawal of troops could send Afghanistan into chaos.
McCain said, “It is not too late for President Obama to abandon this dangerous course and adopt a plan for U.S. troop presence based on conditions on the ground. But time is of the essence, and continued delays by the White House are hurting our national security interests and those of our partners in Afghanistan and beyond.”
Meanwhile, Democrats in the Senate also want to make sure that goals are met before bringing service members home.
Senator Jack Reed said in a public statement to General Campbell, “I strongly believe that the U.S. force posture in Afghanistan going forward should be shaped and resourced to enable you, general, to achieve your missions’ objectives, based on conditions on the ground.”
President Obama has already agreed to delay the return of troops from Afghanistan. The Obama Administration set the goal of bringing home half of the nearly 10,000 troops in the country by the end of 2015. However, the Administration announced in March that no withdrawals would take place until 2016. Part of the reason for this delay was the fact that leaders in Afghanistan requested “flexibility” in the situation.
Combat operations in Afghanistan officially ended in 2014.