The US Senate has overwhelmingly voted against a bipartisan bill that would have directed the Pentagon to begin an “orderly withdrawal” of US troops from Afghanistan and finally end the war in the conflict-ridden country within a year.
Lawmakers, on Wednesday, voted 60-33 to block legislation that was proposed by Senator Rand Paul, thwarting a rare attempt to wind down the longest conflict in American history.
The proposal would have removed US troops from Afghanistan and pay them a $2,500 bonus, and repealed the 2001 law authorizing the so-called War on Terror.
"Our amendment will finally and completely end the war in Afghanistan,” Paul said. “It is not sustainable to keep fighting in Afghanistan generation after generation.”
Paul noted that some of the US soldiers taking part in the conflict were not even born when it was launched in 2001.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. Having failed to end the Taliban’s militancy, American forces have since remained bogged down in war-wracked country through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.
Some 14,000 US troops and approximately 17,000 troops from NATO allies and partner countries remain stationed in Afghanistan.
Senator Tom Udall, who also sponsored the bill, said that their proposed amendment was "the responsible way" to end the 19-year-old war in Afghanistan.
Senator James Inhofe, who urged others to vote to set aside the amendment, said that amendment wasn't the "best way" to end the war.
"The amendment directs a calendar-based withdrawal from Afghanistan rather than a conditions-based,” he said.
The United Nations has recently warned of an alarming rise in violence against civilians and a “striking deterioration” in upholding international humanitarian law in Afghanistan.
The US and Afghan officials warn that the war has entered a complicated period of uncertainty as peace talks Washington and the Taliban have yet to yield results.
Official data shows Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased 70 percent since the militant group signed the deal with Washington in February.
Under the deal, the US agreed to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, and the Taliban agreed to refrain from attacking the US forces in the country.
The militants, however, have made no pledge to avoid attacking Afghan forces and civilians.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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