McCain: US enemies 'know we’re leaving' Afghanistan

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Republicans have also hit the administration for its plans to withdraw U.S. forces from the country and hand over security operations to local Afghans in 2014, charging that the timetable has emboldened the Taliban to wait out the American exit.

Concerns over the readiness of Afghan troops have grown after a sharp rise in the number of insider “blue on green” attacks by local forces targeting American and coalition service members. Over the weekend, a U.S. soldier was the victim of sabotage by his Afghan training partner, pushing the number of U.S. casualties to 2,000 in the 11-year war.

GOP lawmakers have also charged Obama with failing to listen to the advice of military commanders. In 2009, Obama authorized 30,000 additional troops being sent to Afghanistan as part of a surge to combat militants, although his top general had requested 40,000 troops.

McCain’s criticisms are part of a broader strategy by GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign to seize on the recent unrest in the Middle East to hammer Obama over his foreign policy, a strength for the president. Obama consistently polls higher than his Republican challenger on the issue.

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