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Congressman Calls on International Community to Help in Afghanistan


FILE - U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind. Carson, one of two Muslims serving in Congress, serves on the house intelligence committee.

FILE - U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind. Carson, one of two Muslims serving in Congress, serves on the house intelligence committee.

President Barack Obama approved last week new authorizations for U.S. forces in Afghanistan that loosen restrictions on airstrikes and give U.S. forces more flexibility in how they partner with Afghan troops.

As NATO announced that it would keep bases in Afghanistan, the United States' role is still unclear - President Obama has not indicated whether this recent decision will change his plan to reduce the number of U.S. troops from the current 9,800 to around 5,500 by the end of the year.

The president vowed to bring an end to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when he took office, but nearly eight years later violence, conflict and instability have spread to other countries, such as Syria and Libya.

His promises to bring the war to an end have been praised in the United States, and congressional leaders who propose military cutbacks often receive standing ovations.

"But those of us who work in intelligence or even at the defense space, we know that it is important to have some kind of U.S. presence there to keep the region safe and push back on terroristic activity," Congressman Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat, told VOA. "Now the question becomes how much we are willing to invest to ensure that does not happen."

Carson, one of two Muslims serving in Congress, serves on the house intelligence committee. He said the United States is conflicted about its role in Afghanistan, not only because of disagreements between lawmakers at home, but also because of how our actions are perceived abroad.

FILE - Afghan National police stand at the site of a suicide attack near the Defense Ministry compound, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

FILE - Afghan National police stand at the site of a suicide attack near the Defense Ministry compound, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

"On one hand we are demonized and on the other end we are criticized for not having a role," he said. "So, which is it? Our international partners who benefit from our security protection globally everyday must be a part of making Afghanistan a safer place because it is a hot bed for terrorism as we speak."

As terrorist attacks claimed by Islamic State increase at an alarming rate around the globe, hitting Paris and Brussels, as well as inspiring attacks like the shooting in Orlando, Florida earlier this week, the West is tasked with targeting terror groups at the source.

But Carson warns that the United States cannot be expected to fight this battle alone.

"Going forward we can’t pay the tab alone," he said. "We need our international partners from the gulf region, we need our international European partners to be a part of this, because I think at the end of the day we all want a safer global community."

Afghanistan is currently battling a resurgent Taliban, gains by the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network and efforts by Islamic State to move in.

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