Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThune endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race Pennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral MORE (R-S.C.), fresh off a trip abroad with President-elect Joe Biden, sounded conciliatory notes toward President-elect Obama on Afghanistan policy.

"We're at war. The men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq need a united country. And I want to win in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I want to help this commander -- new commander in chief," Graham said on Fox News on Thursday.

Graham, a long-time backer of Obama's election opponent, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' Grant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Will Trump choose megalomania over country? MORE (R-Ariz.), continued: "You know, we go all over the world, we go to Iraq and tell the Sunnis, the Shias and the Kurds, 'Let go of the past, work together, try to find a good solution for the people of Iraq." I'm trying to practice what I preach.

"There'll be plenty of chances to disagree with this new president and new administration. But when you have troops in harm's way, I think it's incumbent upon me and others to find a way to win these wars and work together for the interests of the men and women in harm's way. I think John McCain's made a career of doing that, and I'm trying to help where I can."

Graham also acknowledged the difficult situation in Afghanistan.

"We've lost ground [in Afghanistan]," Graham said. "We're going to send 35,000 troops to recapture that ground."

Though Graham and McCain had defended the Iraq surge during the campaign, Graham said Thursday that the Iraq mission had affected the fighting against the Taliban.

"And the insurgency has grown because, quite frankly, Iraq took resources from Afghanistan," Graham said. "But we had to win in Iraq."

During the election, Obama and Democrats had argued for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq and an increase in more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, where NATO forces are fighting extremists.

Graham also said Thursday that Afghanistan was a "very poor country" and that it didn't have "much of a rule-of-law component." He said that the illiteracy rate is "through the roof" and as high as 98 percent for women in one province torn by fighting between Western and Taliban forces.

"It's going to take some heavy fighting and some expenditures to recapture lost ground, but we'll get there," Graham said.

Graham said that the good news was that Afghans are "good people" and "don't want to go back to the Taliban."

"But it is a mountain to climb economically, politically, culturally. But it is in our interest to get it right because one thing we've learned is if you ignore Afghanistan and places like that, 9/11s can occur," he said.