McCain calls for pressing Pakistan in his Afghan plan

John McCain the US senate armed services committee chairman is proposing a new “strategy for success” in Afghanistan that he will present to the senate in September 2017. AP

John McCain declared Thursday that "America is adrift in Afghanistan" as he unveiled a war strategy of his own that includes more US combat forces and greater counterterrorism efforts.

"We are very close".

"We're getting close, we're getting very close", Trump said in a press conference on Thursday. He said Afghan policy was a big decision for him. But that has been a place - 17 years, our longest war, I read in one of your columns.

McCain said he'll seek a vote on his "strategy for success" in Afghanistan when the Senate returns in September and takes up the annual defense policy bill. "Of course, that includes Secretary (of State) Tillerson as part of that", State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

These powers include USA friends and foes, from Pakistan and India to China, Russia and Iran. "We just don't have that plan", she said in response to a question.

McCain outlined his plan as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill he sponsors as chairman of the Senate armed services committee.

McCain's strategy, which was issued as an amendment to next fiscal year's defense bill, includes additional USA troops for counterterrorism missions, allowing US advisers to work closer to the front lines with Afghan officers and issues USA commanders broader authority to target Taliban insurgents, Islamic State militants and other militias.

The goal of this strategy, he noted, is to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a sanctuary for terrorists to plot and conduct attacks against America, its allies, or theirs.

His strategy also calls for improving the abilities of Afghan forces in the short term by placing USA advisers and trainers at the battalion level of each Afghan corps and "significantly" increasing the availability of US airpower.

Calling for an enduring American troop presence in Afghanistan, McCain has proposed tough measures against Pakistan for its continued support to terrorists.

McCain wants his country to enter into an agreement with the Afghan government for an enduring USA counterterrorism presence in Afghanistan, and he wants to put more pressure on Pakistan to stop providing sanctuaries to the Taliban and Haqqani Network.

Mr McCain's plan also calls for intensifying USA diplomatic efforts with Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and other nations to promote political reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He adds that the United States should pursue an "integrated civil-military" approach that includes deploying more US troops; providing more targeting authority against the Taliban, Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, ISIS and "other terrorist groups that threaten the United States, its allies and its core interests"; and pursuing a joint agreement with the government of Afghanistan for a long-term, open-ended USA presence.

The tenant of the White House had first been given carte blanche to the minister for Defence, Jim Mattis, to decide on the level of american troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but no announcement has been made.

President Trump, speaking to reporters at his golf club in the state of New Jersey said: "We're getting close". Trump's administration is balancing future action in Afghanistan with the President's past statements, including promises during the campaign to get the United States out of foreign conflicts.

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