SEARCH BLOG: AFGHANISTAN.
This is the content of emails sent earlier this year to my congressman and senators for the state of Michigan:
I wish to express my concern regarding the present military tactics being employed in Afghanistan that place our soldiers at unnecessary risk.
Please refer to this article:
My concern is more than abstract; I have a niece who will deploy to Afghanistan before the end of the year as a medic. She will be one of those soldiers who will have to venture into hostile territory unarmed as a result of the politically correct insanity that serves as leadership these days.
I would like to see funding sharply curtailed for this military fiasco since the CIC has determined that there is no real long term vision, strategy, or goals for our involvement... only that we want to stand our soldiers up before hostile forces in the name of hope and change.
Forgive my sarcasm.
Thank you for contacting me about the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
On June 22, 2011, President Obama announced the withdrawal of 33,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, to be completed by September 2012. As the first phase of this drawdown, 10,000 U.S. troops left Afghanistan at the end of 2011. By the end of summer 2012, an additional 23,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. And, in March 2012, President Obama and President Karzai reaffirmed their common commitment to transfer full responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014.
It has always been my belief that success in Afghanistan depends on building the capacity of the Afghan Army and police so that Afghans are in the lead in providing security for their own country. [emphasis mine - see link at bottom of post] The best way to ensure this happens is to continue to reduce our forces. During my trip to Afghanistan in May 2012, I witnessed firsthand the conditions justifying the drawdown of U.S. surge forces, including the progress U.S. and Afghan troops and our allies have made to improve security in Afghanistan; the growth and improvement of the Afghan security forces; the increasing confidence of the Afghan people in the Afghan security forces; and the decreasing number of al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.
The partnership between the United States and Afghanistan has been critical to this mission at all levels, from NATO training missions, to partnering with units in the field, and on up to advisers in the Ministries of Defense and Interior. That partnership has been tested by the disturbing events of the last few months, including the violence following the unintentional and regrettable burning of Korans at a U.S. military base and the tragic and incomprehensible killing of 16 Afghan civilians in Kandahar province, apparently by a U.S. soldier.
These events underscore the importance of transitioning responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to Afghan forces. That’s what I heard when I met with village elders at a council meeting in Helmand province two and a half years ago. When I asked how long U.S. forces should stay, one elder said: Only long enough to train our security forces and then leave. After that you will be welcome to visit us, not as soldiers but as guests.
Increasing the size and capability of the ANSF, which are scheduled to meet a target of 352,000 by the end of this year, is reaping benefits. The transition of selected regions to Afghan control is on target. The proportion of Afghan troops conducting missions has significantly improved, and the Afghans are increasingly in the lead. The ability of the ANSF to protect the Afghan people is the key to the success of our mission. The vast majority of the Afghan people detests the Taliban and tolerates their presence out of fear. In addition, the Afghan Local Police program, where U.S. and coalition special operations forces live among the local population and train the local Afghan people selected by the village elders to defend the village, has demonstrated some important early successes.
These are signs of progress, but they have come at great cost. Many brave American troops have been killed or injured. The strain on our extraordinary troops and their families and on U.S. civilians in Afghanistan is great. But despite the stress, their morale is high, and regardless of whether one agrees with the mission in Afghanistan, those men and women deserve praise from all Americans.
There also are significant threats to the Afghan mission, including the threat emanating from Pakistan. Due to the successful efforts of Coalition and Afghan forces to diminish Taliban havens in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban are increasingly focusing their efforts in eastern Afghanistan. Consequently, the Pakistan safe havens for the Haqqani Group and the Afghan Taliban Quetta Shura pose a greater threat than ever. These safe havens allow those insurgents to cross the border to attack U.S., Afghan and coalition forces and then return to their sanctuaries. While the Pakistani Army takes on terrorist groups within their borders that attack them, often at great cost in Pakistani lives, they have not taken on the Haqqani Group and the Quetta Shura. To that end, I have told the Pakistanis, including Prime Minister Gilani, President Zardari and Chief of Army Staff General Kayani, that their working to eliminate those safe havens is essential to a closer relationship between the United States and Pakistan.
In the coming months, I will continue to work with President Obama and General Allen toward further reductions of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, as well as for the continued buildup of the ANSF and the transition of responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to those forces.
- Sep 30, 2012
- Oct 03, 2012
- Oct 12, 2012