US troop cuts have brought the level in Afghanistan to its lowest since the 2001 invasion. The Senate today debated an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) which would’ve added language supporting the pullout to next year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The vote came without much anticipation, but a vote to kill the amendment passed 60-33. This doesn’t preclude other amendments adding the language to the NDAA later, nor does it prohibit the administration from completing a pullout.
Though the US already signed a peace deal with the Taliban meant to complete a pullout next year, the Trump Administration has emphasized it is “conditions based,” and resistance to this amendment may be clarifying the US intention.
20 years into the war, it is surprising to see the Senate still resisting going on record on ending the conflict, even though they generally have not wanted language to become law on wars during election years.