Hoekstra: Next Afghan President Must Retain US Troops

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 04:19 PM

By Aaron Stern

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The Taliban's failure to meaningfully disrupt Afghanistan's presidential elections over the weekend is seen as a glimmer of hope for the future.

"If the Taliban were going to have an impact on this election, it should have happened over the weekend when the people were voting, where they could have attacked a lot of voting centers and actually caused a disruption," former Rep. Pete Hoekstra told J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.

"You had 60 percent of the Afghan voters were estimated to have come out and voted. That's a very impressive number. You would have thought they [the Taliban] would have tried to drive that number down. They didn't," he said Tuesday.

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Despite the smooth elections, the results of which are still being tabulated, the Taliban still poses a huge threat to Afghanistan's fledgling democracy.

As the U.S. withdraws its troops from the country, Hoekstra said it is vital that the next Afghan president sign a security agreement to enable some U.S. forces to stay behind – something current President Hamid Karzai has refused to do. Maintaining a U.S. presence there would help support a government that has little power outside the capital, Kabul.

Meanwhile, as the Obama administration tries to maintain its military force in Afghanistan, it seems increasingly likely it may have to send troops to defend Ukraine as Russia continues efforts to re-exert its influence in former Soviet republics.

"Bottom line is Putin wants to create confusion, he wants to disrupt the civil society in Ukraine. That's good for Putin, that's good for Russia. He's got his eyes on taking other parts of the former Soviet Union, reintegrating them into the Russian bloc of influence," Hoekstra said.

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