WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. military's top commander for Afghanistan said Tuesday the Pentagon needs to implement a new plan to adjust to gains made there by terror groups.
Army Gen. John Campbell told the Senate Armed Services Committee the present course in Afghanistan could be tweaked to be more effective in combating gains made by militants like the Islamic State and al-Qaida in recent years.
"Based on conditions on the ground, I do believe we have to provide our senior leadership [with] options different than the current plan we are going with," he said.
Campbell noted that he has presented options to revise President Barack Obama's stated desire to scale back U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan after 2016 from the nearly 10,000 there now to 1,000.
"It was envisioned in mid-2014 that we would transition to a normalized embassy presence by 2017," Campbell said. "Since that time, much has changed: We've seen a rise in [the Islamic State], an increased al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan, and now we have strong partner in [Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive officer of Afghanistan]."
The commander said the main reasons for adjusting the military's plan are advances made by IS and al-Qaida, and an increase in insurgent violence in the country.
"In the last year, we have observed the movement's increased recruiting efforts and growing operational capacity," Campbell said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the committee chairman, expressed frustration with the Obama administration's plan to scale back a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
"If we do what is presently planned to begin in three months from now, we'll see the Iraq movie again," he said.