By Kristina Wong - 01/14/14 12:53 PM EST
President Obama needs to do more to highlight U.S. successes in Afghanistan and support U.S. troops there, Republican lawmakers said Tuesday after a classified briefing with White House officials.
"He could tell the troops that what they're doing is important," said Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
"He has not for months talked to the American people about this situation," he added.
The U.S. troop presence also depends on when Afghan President Hamid Karzai signs a bilateral security agreement that would allow U.S. troops to continue their presence there.
McKeon said he didn't think the White House favored the zero option, but was worried officials would "stumble towards it" as when U.S. and Iraqi officials failed to negotiate an agreement that would allow U.S. troops to stay beyond their combat mission.
"We see what's happening in Iraq, with all the terrorists and deaths that are being caused because of a lack of our presence," McKeon said.
Complicating matters is Karzai's recent decision to release 72 of 88 Afghan detainees, some of which U.S. officials say are responsible for U.S. troop deaths.
McKeon and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) are requesting the names of the detainees in order to add them to a terrorist watch list. They said they did not receive the names during the briefing.