In the aftermath of Sunday’s shooting spree by an alleged American soldier in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 16 people, many are calling for an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. forces from the war-torn nation. Speaking with Greenwood affiliate WLMA, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Arms Services Committee advised against a quick withdrawal. He said the mission in Afghanistan is near completion and the safety of the troops is an issue.
President Barack Obama said Wednesday he did not anticipate any “sudden” change in U.S. plans for the speed of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Graham says the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, has a detailed plan for the controlled withdrawal of American forces. General Allen also serves as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Graham says Afghan President Hamid Karzai has not always been cooperative in the mission of ridding his nation of terrorists. Shortly after the incident, Afghan President Karzai has called the killings of the civilians by the U.S. soldier an unforgiveable crime. More recently Karzai has called for U.S. troops to leave the rural villages and go back to the main military bases in the country.
The unnamed soldier is accused of gunning down nine children, three women and four men in a 90-minute rampage early Sunday. It has been reported that the solider, who turned himself after the shootings, suffers from a traumatic brain injury. Graham says while the incident is very unfortunate and have no doubt strained relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan, he thinks the Afghan people view Americans as helpful and friendly.
AUDIO: Graham insists that the mission in Afghanistan is near completion (1:37)
Anne Eller , WLMA Greenwood contributed to the story.