United States Senate
Bipartisan Amendment Calls for
Accelerated Handover in Afghanistan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC – Ten years after the start of the war in Afghanistan, more than one hundred thousand American troops remain in that nation, providing military and security assistance to the Afghanistan government. A bipartisan group of senators today offered an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill to urge the president to accelerate the timetable for transitioning to Afghanistan control over their own security. The effort is being led by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
“We went to Afghanistan to destroy al Qaeda training camps and bring to justice those responsible for the September 11th attacks. With the death of Osama Bin Laden, we have now accomplished those goals. It is time to end our presence in Afghanistan and refocus our attention on fighting terrorists wherever they may be,” said Merkley. “At a time of high unemployment, a wave of foreclosures and growing debt, we need concentrate on nation-building here at home.”
“It is time to have a clear missive from the President on how he plans to end our presence in Afghanistan. We cannot continue endless nation-building efforts overseas while here at home we face expounding national debt, crumbling infrastructure, and out-of-control spending in Washington,” Sen. Paul said.
"For more than a decade we have invested precious lives and resources in Afghanistan to eradicate terrorism and bring to justice those responsible for Sept. 11," said Sen. Tom Udall. "Thanks to the brave work and dedication of our military, intelligence and diplomatic personnel, al-Qaeda no longer has a significant presence in their country and Osama bin Laden is dead. Setting an accelerated timeline to drawdown our troops gives the Afghans strong incentive to take over their security, and it allows us to concentrate on terrorist organizations with global reach.”
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama began the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan with the goal of removing all combat troops by the end of 2014. However, that would mean that tens of thousands of troops will remain in country for three more years with many support and training personnel remaining beyond that.
Given that America has largely accomplished the goals set out at the onset of the war and that the chief mission has morphed into a wide-ranging “nation-building” effort that is costing our country nearly $10 billion a month, the senators believe that we need to rethink this use of our military resources and speed the handover to the Afghanistan governmen
The resolution calls for the President to expedite transition of responsibility for military and security operations to the government of Afghanistan and provide a plan to Congress within 90 days of passage of the resolution of a timeframe and completion date for that accelerated transition.
Full text of the resolution is below.