National Security Subcommittee Demands Testimony from Administration Officials on U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan
Washington, D.C. (Aug. 31, 2020)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, were joined by Committee Democrats in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding testimony from each of their departments regarding the current U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.
“The Trump Administration has repeatedly refused to provide the National Security Subcommittee with information about its handling of America’s longest war,” Committee Democrats wrote. “Thousands of servicemembers have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, and the lives of tens of thousands more have been irreversibly altered by injury or the loss of family members and friends. The American people have the right to hear directly from their government about the prospects for peace in Afghanistan after nearly two-decades of conflict, or whether it once again may become a haven for terrorists that could threaten us here at home.”
Today’s letter was signed by Chairwoman Maloney, Subcommittee Chairman Lynch, Rep. Jim Cooper, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Harley Rouda, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Rep. William Lacy Clay, Rep. Gerald Connolly, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Jackie Speier, Rep. Stacey Plaskett, and Rep. Kweisi Mfume.
“While we all want our troops to return home, we are also concerned that U.S. force levels in Afghanistan are being determined by the November 2020 election rather than the future stability of Afghanistan and our national security interests.”
The Subcommittee on National Security has invited the Department of State and the Department of Defense (DOD) to appear at multiple briefings and hearings since August 2019, oftentimes on a bipartisan basis. Each time, the Department of State and DOD have either failed to respond or declined to appear before the Subcommittee.
Recent developments will have significant ramifications for long-term security and stability of Afghanistan, including the February 29, 2020, U.S.-Taliban agreement; a subsequent uptick in violence perpetrated by the Taliban against Afghan security forces; a reduction of U.S. forces; and the spread of the coronavirus throughout Afghanistan.
The Members added, “It is both a moral and constitutional imperative for your departments to testify publicly about how the Trump Administration plans to bring a responsible end to nearly two decades of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.”
“Should your departments refuse to appear voluntarily, the Subcommittee will have no other choice but to receive testimony through compulsory process.”
Click here to read today’s letter.