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Embassy of Afghanistan Legislative Update for September 2007

At this crucial moment in time, the Embassy of Afghanistan is actively engaging the U.S. Congress to provide the resources and commitment necessary to successfully rebuild Afghanistan. As part of these efforts, we will provide regular updates on legislative activity pertinent to Afghanistan and the region.

2008 Emergency War Supplemental Request

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requested an increase in funding from Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This funding request is known as the 2008 Emergency War Supplemental.  Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, war funding has been requested through the Emergency Supplemental scheme rather than routine Appropriations processes.  This additional request brings war funding to nearly $190 billion, the largest single-year total for the wars thus far. If the request is approved, war spending in 2007 would be increased by nearly 15 percent. 

 

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Writes Letter to State Department Coordinator for Counter narcotics

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Republican member of the House Committee on International Relations, wrote a letter to Thomas Schweich, the State Department coordinator for counter narcotics and justice reform in Afghanistan stating her concern over the counter-narcotics trends in Afghanistan.  This comes after the recent release of United Nations Office of Crimes and Drugs report on Afghanistan.  Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen said Congress supports the enlistment of the Colombian National Police to help the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Afghanistan.  "The CNP has years of tactical experience, operational planning and expertise on taking down these kingpins and their infrastructure, which the DEA did not have in such a harsh, dangerous and hostile security climate as in Afghanistan today," said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.

Embassy Holds Briefing for Senate Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees on Counter narcotics in Afghanistan

On September 20, Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari briefed Senate staff on the current state of counter-narcotics in Afghanistan.  Haidari discussed the international counter-narcotics efforts in the context of the recent United Nations report on drug production in Afghanistan and President Karzai’s address at the Third Annual National Counter narcotics Conference in Kabul.  Mr. Haidari cited narcotics as a central problem in Afghanistan, destroying the health and fabric of Afghan society, undermining its nascent government institutions, strengthening the anti-government Taliban terrorists, and harming its national image in the international community.  Haidari expressed the gratitude of the Afghan people to the US Congress for the support and commitment of the American people, and asked the Congress for long-term resources, patience, and legislating aid effectiveness measures to fight and eliminate drugs in Afghanistan.

House Armed Services Committee Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing on Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT)

On September 5, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee received testimony on the role of the Department of Defense in provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was noted that PRT efforts involve more than just military actions by requiring integrated efforts and resources of other governmental departments and agencies besides the Department of Defense. However, the character of PRTs in Afghanistan has been different of that in Iraq.  In Afghanistan, PRTs focus on classic development projects such as improving road networks, adding to the supply of electricity and water, building schools and clinics.  The PRTs’ mission in Afghanistan is to extend the reach of the Afghan government by enabling security sector reform and reconstruction, and is part of a full spectrum of operations, from Special Forces combat to midwife training.  The PRT system is rapidly expanding and improving its assistance to Afghanistan, despite a changing security environment.

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