Rand Paul: 'Ludicrous' to call a withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria 'precipitous'

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions MORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday it was "ludicrous" for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE (R-Ky.) to call taking troops out of Syria and Afghanistan “precipitous.”

“To call it a precipitous withdrawal after 17 years is ludicrous,” Paul said on Fox News. “We’ve been there 17 years.”

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The libertarian-leaning lawmaker said the U.S. had secured a victory in Afghanistan because it “got bin Laden” and “disrupted the people who attacked us.”

He argued that the money spent on the war could be better spent domestically, including on a border wall.

The U.S. has been leading an international coalition against ISIS in Syria since 2014, while the war in Afghanistan began in late 2001.

Senators are planning to vote Thursday afternoon on an amendment sponsored by McConnell that warns “the precipitous withdrawal” of U.S. forces from Syria and Afghanistan “could put at risk hard-won gains and United States national security.” 

The measure is meant as a rebuke of the Trump administration, with GOP lawmakers concerned over President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE's reluctance to listen to top military and intelligence advisers.

The Trump administration instructed the military to begin removing troops from Afghanistan, two officials told The New York Times last month, though the White House contradicted that report.

The U.S. and the Taliban are coming closer to an agreement that could include withdrawing troops, The Washington Post reported Monday. 

“It would recognize the danger of a precipitous withdrawal from either conflict and highlight the need for diplomatic engagement and political solutions to the underlying conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan," McConnell said of his resolution earlier this week.

"We are the leader of the free world, and it’s incumbent upon the United Stares to lead, to maintain a global coalition against terror and to stand with our partners engaged in a daily fight against terrorists," he added.