Iraq crisis stirs fears Afghanistan could be next

By

WASHINGTON (AP) — The deteriorating situation in Iraq is giving Congress pause about President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

Lawmakers fear that the hard-fought gains in Afghanistan could be wiped out by a resurgent Taliban.

Senior Obama administration officials insist Afghanistan is not Iraq. They say the population is far more receptive to a continued U.S. presence, and a top American general says Afghans are better fighters. But the officials could offer no assurances that Afghanistan won't devolve into chaos after Americans leave, as Iraq has.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's up to the people of Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan war has lasted more than a decade, cost billions of dollars and killed more than 2,100 members of the U.S. military.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.