WASHINGTON—Senator John McCain, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made an impassioned plea for President Obama to reconsider the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Speaking this afternoon at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he said that it was essential for the United States to make a strategic partnership with the Afghan government, which included a long-term U.S. military presence on the ground to prevent the Taliban from returning to power. 


Senator McCain also strongly criticized the White House for a lack of leadership on Syria. He said it was a “stain on our national honor” that we had not intervened to support the opposition forces in Syria. He called for the arming of the Syrian rebels and the creation of a safe area inside Syria.

He sharply attacked the Pakistani intelligence services for its links with known terrorists, calling it reprehensible that the ISI continued to maintain a close relationship with the Haqqani network, which is responsible for the deaths of American soldiers.

Asked about the recent photographs showing American soldiers posing with the bodies of Afghan fighters, he said it was “deplorable and despicable…but that 99.9% of American soldiers in Afghanistan were operating to the highest standards.”