U.S. Senator Graham calls for hearings on troops in Syria, Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Friday called for immediate U.S. Senate hearings on President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw all American troops from Syria, which prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters he wanted to hear directly from Mattis at any hearing.

Reuters December 22, 2018 02:05:22 IST
U.S. Senator Graham calls for hearings on troops in Syria, Afghanistan

US Senator Graham calls for hearings on troops in Syria Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Friday called for immediate U.S. Senate hearings on President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw all American troops from Syria, which prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters he wanted to hear directly from Mattis at any hearing. Mattis announced plans on Thursday to depart in a candid resignation letter to Trump that laid bare the growing divide between them.

A Senate hearing could also cover Trump administration officials saying on Thursday that there were plans to drawdown about 5,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Graham, who over the past year or so has been a staunch supporter of Trump, has broken with him on the Syria decision.

Heading to a meeting of Republican senators, Graham said, "In lunch I'm going to ask for hearings like right now about Syria." Trump said Islamic State had been defeated there so it was time to withdraw U.S. forces.

Graham made clear that he also was worried about a possible U.S. troop reduction in Afghanistan, where 14,000 troops are deployed in what is America's longest war at 17 years.

"I dare anybody to say that ISIS-K is defeated in Afghanistan," Graham said, referring to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province, a branch of Islamic State, active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The group "is a bigger threat this year than they were last year. It is clear to me that ISIS-K is plotting to hit America," Graham said.

Graham said cutting U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan would leave "too few to accomplish the mission of holding Afghanistan together and protecting America from another attack and it's too many to be hostages and sitting ducks" there.

The United States went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, seeking to oust the Taliban militants harbouring Saudi-raised militant Osama bin Laden, who led plans to carry out the attacks.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by James Dalgleish and Grant McCool)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.