Graham on Democrats debating troop withdrawal: 'ISIS and al-Qaeda are loving this'

Graham on Democrats debating troop withdrawal: 'ISIS and al-Qaeda are loving this'
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot MORE (R-S.C.), a vocal foreign policy hawk, bashed the Democratic presidential hopefuls appearing in Tuesday night’s primary debate, suggesting their plans to withdraw from Afghanistan could help terrorist groups.

“Withdrawing from war zones filled with terrorists — against sound military advice — didn’t work for President Obama and it won’t work for anyone else,” Graham tweeted. “ISIS and al-Qaeda are loving this debate.”

The South Carolina Republican, a close ally of the White House, has praised President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE’s use of military force during his term, including two strikes on Syria in response to chemical attacks on rebel areas in the country. Graham was also critical of former President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq.

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Several Democrats vowed they would withdraw the U.S. military from Afghanistan, with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - GOP closes ranks to fill SCOTUS vacancy by November Buttigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice Hillicon Valley: FBI, DHS warn that foreign hackers will likely spread disinformation around election results | Social media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day | Trump to meet with Republican state officials on tech liability shield MORE and Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockMcConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency Pence seeks to boost Daines in critical Montana Senate race MORE saying they would pull out troops within their first year in office, while former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said he would do the same within his first term.

“Look, around the world we will do whatever it takes to keep America safe, but I thought I was one of the last troops leaving Afghanistan when I thought I was turning out the lights years ago,” Buttigieg, an Afghanistan War veteran, said. 

“Every time I see news about somebody being killed in Afghanistan, I think about what it was like to hear an explosion over there and wonder whether it was somebody that I served with, somebody that I knew, a friend, a roommate, colleague. We’re pretty close to that day when we will wake up to the news of a causality in Afghanistan who was not born on 9/11.”

The Indiana Democrat went on to detail updates he would like to see for the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), saying he would propose an AUMF that sunsets after three years.

The Pentagon currently has about 14,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan in the 18-year war, whose mission includes to train and advise local troops in their fight against the Taliban and to conduct counterterrorism missions against groups including ISIS.

Two U.S. troops were killed Monday in what was reportedly an insider attack.