Republicans warn Obama of 'fatal mistake' in Afghanistan

Republican lawmakers are warning the White House that leaving fewer than 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan would be a “fatal mistake.”

Reuters on Tuesday reported the administration is considering leaving “well below"10,000 troops in the country after 2014. That is the minimum number military commanders say would be necessary to continue training Afghan forces and conducting a counterterrorism mission there.

“We hope a recent press report that the White House is considering a post-2014 force in Afghanistan well below the recommendations of our military commanders is incorrect," said a statement from Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report MORE (R-S.C.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteOvernight Defense: NATO expanding troops in Iraq Overnight Defense: New START extended for five years | Austin orders 'stand down' to tackle extremism | Panel recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal Study group recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (R-N.H.), and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain planning 'intimate memoir' of life with John McCain Trump-McConnell rift divides GOP donors Arkansas state senator says he's leaving Republican Party MORE (R-Ariz.).


“After 13 years of sacrifice and investment, success in Afghanistan is now within our grasp. The last thing we should do in the coming years is increase the risks to our mission unnecessarily," they said.

The Reuters report said the decision to consider a small force of "possibly less than 5,000 U.S. troops" reflects a belief among White House officials that Afghan forces are strong enough to fight a Taliban insurgency, while U.S. troops focus on counterterrorism.

The GOP senators blasted the idea, saying that several thousand additional troops could mean the difference between success and failure.

They also urged the White House to consider "the lesson of Iraq," where all U.S. troops were pulled from the country after the U.S. and Iraq failed to sign a bilateral security agreement.

"The administration ignored sound military advice and adopted a high risk strategy of withdrawing all U.S. troops," they said.

"The result, tragically, is a resurgent Al-Qaeda, rising violence, and growing risk of renewed sectarian conflict. That fatal mistake in Iraq must not be repeated in Afghanistan."