Afghanistanby Representative Walter B. Jones
Posted on 2015-07-28
JONES. Mr. Speaker, on July 22, The New York Times published an
article titled ``Afghan Security Forces Struggle Just to Maintain
Stalemate,'' by Joseph Goldstein.
Mr. Goldstein writes that, because of extremely high casualty rates in the Afghan security forces, there is also a high desertion rate. As a result, the Afghans are struggling to maintain adequate numbers in their security forces, meaning, it is becoming extremely difficult for them to keep the Taliban at bay.
The article is of great concern for those of us who have watched the fight against the Taliban since 2001. We have lost over 2,355 men and women in Afghanistan, with 20,000 wounded, and spent over $685 billion.
The history of Afghanistan has shown that no outside military force has ever changed it, from Alexander the Great, to the British, to the Russians. Yet, last year the Obama administration signed a 9-year agreement, committing American money and manpower in Afghanistan that was not voted on by the Congress.
That is so ironic. We are talking about voting on this agreement with Iran, but we did not vote to commit our troops and our money to Afghanistan for 9 more years.
As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I am concerned by Mr. Goldstein's report. Let me give two quotes from his article about the ability of the Afghan security forces to keep the Taliban at bay that I found very, very concerning.
First: ``A spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry . . . insisted that desertions remained rare and that there had been no effort to ban leaves or to stop rotations away from the front to cut down on the number of people going absent without leave.'' The second quote: ``But interviews with soldiers and police officers repeatedly countered the government's claims. One Army major said . . . `Once the soldiers are taken for their breaks, they are unwilling to come back and join their duty.' '' Once again, Mr. Speaker, the Afghan Government is untruthful and corrupt. Yet, we continue to spend billions of dollars at this losing cause.
It is not fair to the taxpayers of eastern North Carolina, the taxpayers of America, or anybody in this country that pays taxes that we will continue to send money there to build their infrastructure and rebuild their roads and then to have the Taliban blow them up. It makes no sense.
I can assure President Ghani, the President of Afghanistan, that the United States House continues to spend billions of dollars on Afghan reconstruction so the Taliban can continue to destroy what we send over there with the taxpayers' money to be built.
We in Congress should stop funding this rathole of a policy in Afghanistan, which has basically given the Afghan Government a blank check every year and will for the next 9 years.
History has proven that we will never change this tribal nation, and we should stop trying. Instead, let's focus on fixing our economy here in America.
God bless our troops, and God bless America.