Obama’s Fmr Ambassadors Criticize Afghanistan Withdrawal Plans

Fmr. Ambassadors to Afghanistan James Cunningham and Joe Crocker criticized the planned timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

Cunningham, who served as Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014 said “I think that under the circumstances, that timeline is probably too short and the rate of withdrawal is too steep. What those dates really mean is that in order to withdraw forces, you need to begin well before the time that’s indicated for the end point, which detracts from the missions that are being undertaken, whether it’s train, advise, and assist, or counterterrorism.” And that the current plan for the removal of forces “should be reviewed.”

Crocker, who was Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012, added, “our force levels, and draw downs, or plus ups have to be conditions based, not based on a timeline,” and that “by fixing a date certain to draw down to a certain number and then to draw down to basically an office and an embassy, simply tells our adversaries how long they have to hold out before they have the field to themselves…that never seemed to me, particularly good strategy.”

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