The US should strive to eliminate Al-Qaeda network in Pakistan rather than sending more troops to Afghanistan, a top US Senator has said.
Sending additional troops to war-torn nation is not a solution to problem, what is needed is action against the terrorists' bases in Pakistan, Senator Russ Feingold said as he introduced a bi-partisan legislation in the US Senate that requires a timetable to draw down US troops from Afghanistan.
"Ending Al-Qaeda's safe haven in Pakistan remains a top priority, but a massive military presence in Afghanistan won't accomplish this and could actually contribute to further destabilisation of Pakistan," Feingold said.
"We cannot continue to jump from one perceived central front in the war on terror to the next, nor should we invest our resources in such a manner," he said, adding that Al-Qaeda, its affiliates and sympathisers will continue to look for new safe havens in places like Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and elsewhere around the globe.
Rather than investing a disproportionate amount of US resources into Afghanistan, where Al-Qaeda now has a limited presence, Senator Feingold has advocated for a transition to a more sustainable counter-terrorism approach for the region and for shifting resources to more aggressively pursue Al-Qaeda's global network.
"This does not mean we should walk away from Afghanistan. Our long-term commitment of assistance to the people of Afghanistan will remain important in fighting corruption and supporting the emergence of more responsive and capable government institutions that can address socioeconomic and political issues feeding instability," he said.
"We must retain a capability for targeted counter-terrorism efforts, consistent with a strategy to fight Al-Qaeda around the world," he added.
In order to deny Al-Qaeda opportunities to recruit and operate, Feingold has advocated for initiatives and policies to address local conditions in places like Yemen that continue to enable Al-Qaeda affiliates and sympathisers to recruit and operate.
The US Congress has passed legislation authored by Feingold to develop a comprehensive stabilisation and reconstruction strategy for Somalia, a nation where al Shabaab, a militant group with ties to Al-Qaeda, has grown and strengthened.
"Instead of seeing the fight against Al-Qaeda as a largely military operation, we must recognise the importance of a comprehensive, global counter-terrorism strategy that emphasises security sector reform, human rights, economic development, transparency, good governance, accountability, and the rule of law," the Senator said.