Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) released a statement on Monday opposing any plan to add additional troops to the ground mission in Afghanistan, hours before President Donald Trump addresses the nation about his plans for the region.
“The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose, and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war,” Paul said in a statement.
The press release also pointed out that Rand has previously proposed an amendment to the NDAA to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) forcing Congress to vote on any further military action in Afghanistan.
“His amendment expresses the sense of Congress that the President cannot conduct ongoing U.S. military operations in Afghanistan without an AUMF from Congress authorizing such conduct,” the release reads. “He strongly believes that if the President and Congress want to continue the war in Afghanistan, then at the very least Congress should vote on it.”
Trump is widely expected to add between 3,000 and 4,000 U.S. troops to the roughly 8,400 currently in situ. Any additional troops would expand a current train-and-advise mission to Afghan troops fighting the Taliban and expand a counterterrorism mission to defeat Al Qaeda, the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, as well as other terrorist organizations.
In 2014, Barack Obama announced plans to withdraw all U.S. troops by the time he left office in January 2017. However, he later reversed his decision after the Taliban made a comeback, leaving 8,400 troops in the country.