Marco Rubio Criticizes Obama For Signaling Drawdown In Afghanistan

Sen. Marco Rubio speaks to voters at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum September 18, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Eleven republican candidates each had twenty five minutes to talk to voters Friday at the Bons Secours Wellness arena in the upstate of South Carolina. (Photo by
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio is criticizing President Obama for signaling that the United States would continue to draw down troops in Afghanistan – even though Obama admitted that a full withdrawal by the end of his presidency would likely not be possible.

“I welcome President Obama’s decision to maintain the current level of U.S. forces in Afghanistan through the end of 2016. I do not agree, however, with his decision to prematurely announce a further drawdown before he leaves office,” Rubio said in a statement to reporters.

Obama signaled that he would cancel his plan to drop down to an embassy-level presence and would instead leave 9,800 troops in the region through 2015. He also announced that he would draw down U.S. forces to 5,500 troops after 2016.

Rubio criticized Obama’s continued vocal commitment to reducing the levels of U.S. troops without understanding conditions, noting that it “only signals weakness to our enemies and encourages them to wait us out.”

He also pointed out that terrorist activity in the region was increasing under Obama’s leadership.

“Just in recent weeks, the Taliban captured a major city for the first time since 2001, and ISIL has continued to make inroads in certain Afghan districts,” he said.

Rubio alluded to Obama’s continued failure to lead in the Middle East, pointing out that it endangered the security of the United States.

“America’s history in Afghanistan, as well as recent events in Iraq and Syria, show that when the U.S. fails to lead and allows states to collapse, we ultimately undermine our own security.”