WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today released the following statement about the president’s decision to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through the end of 2016:
“The president’s recognition of the need to retain the existing force presence in Afghanistan is long overdue. I have consistently criticized the administration for picking a date on the calendar to withdraw U.S. troops instead of allowing conditions on the ground to determine our policy. Withdrawing prematurely would create a leadership vacuum, allowing for a resurgence of the Taliban or leaving the country vulnerable to the likes of ISIS, much like we are seeing happen in Iraq. This would be devastating for the region and our national security.
“Despite earlier announcements by the White House, combat has not ended in Afghanistan. It is now time for the president to back up his words with actions by providing our military with the funds and authorizations needed to ensure they are trained and equipped for ongoing and future operations. We must also provide the Afghan National Security Forces the support they need while implementing a comprehensive strategy in the region with our allies. This starts first and foremost with Democrats immediately ending the filibuster of appropriations bills followed by the president signing into law defense authorization and appropriations bills. Vetoing the defense authorization and appropriation bills due to needed increase in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) sends the wrong message to our allies and our enemies.”