Democratic presidential hopefuls want US troops out of Afghanistan during TV debate

NEW YORK, Sep 13 (APP):The United States’ involvement in Afghanistan and its commitments around the globe dominated the relatively brief national security portion of the Democratic presidential debate held in Houston, Texas, on Thursday night.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the nine candidates seeking Democratic presidential nomination, said she would pull the US troops out of the country even without a peace deal with the Taliban, but called for American investment instead in economic and development programmes that could help root out terrorism there and elsewhere.

“We cannot ask our military to keep solving problems that cannot be solved militarily,” Senator Warren said. “We’re not going to bomb our way to a solution in Afghanistan.”

A moderator of the debate pressed her on his plan to withdraw, pointing out that even the US military leaders had made it clear they believed troops withdrawal could not happen without a deal with the Taliban – a view many Afghans also held.

“Would you listen to their advice?” the moderator asked.

Senator Warren replied that military officials struggled to describe what winning in Afghanistan looked like “because the problems in Afghanistan are not problems that can be solved by a military”.

Former Vice President Joe Biden noted that he opposed the surge of troops in Afghanistan in the Obama administration because the country “cannot be put together.” His remarks surprise political commentators.

“I will go on and on, but here’s the point,” Biden continued. “The point is that it’s a counterterrorism strategy. We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases – insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to airlift from and to move against what we know,” he said.

“We don’t need those troops there. I would bring them home.”

Businessman Andrew Yang noted he had signed a pledge to end the wars.

“We’ve been in a state of continuous armed conflict for 18 years, which is not what the American people want. We have to start owning what we can and can’t do. We’re not very good at rebuilding countries.”

On authorizing military force, Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, pledged to install a “three-year sunset” in any new authorization, and would require the president to seek authorization from Congress.

On military spending, Senator Bernie Sanders noted that he was the “only person up here” to vote against Trump’s defence budgets. “I don’t think we have to spend $750 billion a year on the military when we don’t even know who our enemy is,” he said.

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