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News and Views

Embassy of Afghanistan Legislative Update for November 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.

H. Res. 811 Condemns the Terrorist Attack in Baghlan Province


On November 8, Congressman David Dreier introduced H. Res. 811, a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning the terrorist bombing in Baghlan, Afghanistan on November 6th.  The terrorist attack targeted an 18 member delegation of Afghan parliamentarians visiting the district to inaugurate a sugar plant.  Resolution 811 condemns the attack in the strongest terms and expresses condolences to the Afghan people and the Wolesi Jirga, or Afghan lower house, which is the directly elected chamber of the National Assembly of Afghanistan.  The resolution further reaffirms the long-term commitment of the United States to assist in establishing security and stability in Afghanistan, and calls on the U.S. and other responsible nations to strengthen their efforts to improve security, governance, and economic development in Afghanistan.


Congressional Report Calls for Foreign Aid Strategy Reform


On November 16, the Republican staff of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations released a report finding a lack of cohesive overall strategy in US foreign assistance.  The report is based the committee staff’s findings from visiting 24 countries.  The report criticizes bureaucratic impediments to efficient foreign assistance strategy and calls for reform in setting foreign aid priorities and establishing strategic direction.  According to a statement released by Senator Dick Lugar, the ranking Republican on the committee, “A foreign assistance program that fights endemic poverty and helps build just, open and well-governed societies will go a long way toward loosening the lure of violent extremism.  The commitment must be long-term, and we must be coordinated as a government if we intend to make a difference.”


Supplemental War Funding Bills Rejected


On November 16, a Democrat-sponsored emergency supplemental war funding bill failed a cloture motion in the Senate, preventing further consideration of the bill, which had passed in the House two days earlier.  The bill would have provided $50 billion – including $500 million for Afghanistan Security Forces – to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan until Congressional consideration of the President’s full supplemental funding request.  The bill included provisions requiring the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by the end of 2008, restrictions on the nature and scope of the military’s mission in Iraq, and limitations on interrogation techniques.  The White House, objecting to the policy change language, issued a statement of intent to veto if the measure reached the President.  The Senate may consider a new measure in December with no mention of an Iraq withdrawal date.


On November 16, a Republican-sponsored emergency supplemental war funding bill failed a cloture motion in the Senate 45-53, preventing further consideration of the bill.  The measure would have provided $70 billion with no policy restrictions, including $1.35 billion for Afghanistan Security Forces, to continue military operations until Congress is able to consider the president’s full supplemental funding request. 

Bill Introduced to Phase-out the Use of Private Military Contractors


On November 7, legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives (HR 4102) to phase out the use of private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Among findings cited for the proposed phasing out of private military contractors are mission conflicts, lack of proper oversight of contractors, jeopardized safety of US military personnel, and negative impacts on relations between governments.  The bill has been referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Intelligence (Permanent Select).


Ambassador Jawad Meets with Key Senators and the Chair of the House-U.S. Afghan Caucus


Ambassador Jawad met with Senators Lugar and Hagel, as well as senior staff from Senator Biden’s office to discuss US policy in Afghanistan and provide a briefing on the current reconstruction and security challenges on-the-ground.  Ambassador Jawad also met with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee to discuss ways in which the Embassy can work with the House US-Afghan Caucus to address important issues affecting Afghanistan and US engagement in Afghanistan. 


Sarkozy Pledges Continued Support for Mission in Afghanistan


On November 7, French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivered a speech before a joint meeting of Congress, during which he pledged the continued support of France to operations in Afghanistan.  Remarking on France’s solidarity with the United States in the fight against terrorism, President Sarkozy said, “From day one, France decided to participate shoulder to shoulder with you in the war in Afghanistan.  Let me tell you solemnly today: France will remain engaged in Afghanistan as long as it takes, because what’s at stake in that country is the future of our values and that of the Atlantic Alliance.” 

Updated CRS report on US narcotics policy in Afghanistan


Congressional Resource Service (CRS) has updated its report Afghanistan: Narcotics and US Policy to reflect changing conditions and the Administration’s August announcement of a new and strengthened US counter-narcotics strategy in Afghanistan.  The resurgent opium economy, called “the single greatest challenge to the long-term security, development, and effective governance of Afghanistan” by President Karzai, is detailed in the report with current statistics, profiles of those involved in the illegal narcotics trade, and analysis of the industry’s links to terrorism.  The report also reviews US and international counter-narcotics policies, and considers current policy debates concerning poppy eradication, alternative livelihoods, funding issues for Congress, and the role of the US military in counter-narcotics.  View the report here:

Updated CRS report on Post-War Governance, Security, and US Policy

Congressional Resource Service (CRS) has released an update to its report Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and US Policy.  The report details US and international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan from the 2001 fall of the Taliban through 2007.  Beginning with background information on the conditions leading up to Operation Enduring Freedom, various aspects of reconstruction and security operations are examined, including post-war stabilization, political transition and governance issues, counter-narcotics, Provincial Reconstruction Teams, infrastructure reconstruction, and foreign assistance.  View the report here:

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