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McCain: U.S. Must Reassess Afghan Troop Withdrawal

U.S. Senator John McCain
U.S. Senator John McCain

U.S. Senator John McCain says remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan should stay longer than planned to stop the Taliban from making advances during a current offensive.

McCain (Republican-Arizona) made the comments to reporters during a visit to Kabul on July 4.

McCain said that the Afghan national forces are fighting bravely but suffering heavy losses in the field.

U.S. and international troops have already stopped playing a combat role, remaining as trainers for local forces.

The international numbers will be reduced further at the end of 2016.

But McCain says any reduction should be based on conditions on the ground, not an arbitrary calendar date.

"A calendar-based withdrawal -- that would be a tragedy, and in my view, an opening for the Taliban to gain and create success here in Afghanistan," McCain said.

There are around 9,800 U.S. troops left in Afghanistan, down from a peak of around 100,000 in 2011.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters