Sen. Graham: Some U.S. troops must stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014
(CBS News) On "Face the Nation," Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) painted an optimistic picture of Afghanistan, saying the U.S. has been doing many of the right things there, including committing counter-terrorism forces beyond the 2014 troop withdrawal.
"I applaud the president for his strategic partnership agreement" with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Graham said, referring to the agreement signed earlier this month which enables the U.S. to keep a military contingent in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Graham added that it "closes the deal ... on the Taliban's aspirations to come back militarily.
"My view is with about three or four airbases, 20,000 troops left behind past 2014, with American air power and special forces units, the Afghan army will always win a fight with the Taliban," he said.
Graham said NATO needs to play a role, too. "NATO nations need to commit past 2014. If we do that we will get this right," Graham said.
However, during "Face the Nation"'s foreign policy roundtable, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman disagreed with Graham.
"Whenever I hear people saying it's a training problem, I always ask myself, 'Who has trained the Taliban?' Training Afghans to shoot, to fight, that always just has a real dissonance in my ear. I think people fight when they have a will, and it's not just about the way, and I think there are a lot of Afghans that don't want to fight for a corrupt government," Friedman said.
President Obama is currently in Chicago for the NATO Summit with President Karzai. The role of NATO and American troops is a focus of the meetings.
- Leigh Ann Caldwell
Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.Follow on Twitter »
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