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McKeon Issues Statement On Afghanistan

newBuckCongressman Buck McKeon, the Chairman-elect of the House Armed Services Committee, congratulated U.S. troops for the gains they have achieved in Afghanistan during the last year and reiterated his support for the comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy being implemented by our nation’s military forces, diplomats and international partners.

Following the President’s speech on the Afghanistan Pakistan Annual Review, McKeon reiterated his plan to put the Armed Services Committee on a war footing in order to provide oversight over the war effort and ensure our troops have the resources and capabilities they need to win.

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“Our brave troops and civilian personnel—along with their international partners—have made considerable progress in their fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban during the last year.  They are serving selflessly in harsh conditions to bring stability to Afghanistan and its people.  We are grateful for their service and commitment to the mission, especially during this holiday season.

“The courageous efforts of our troops have enabled them to regain the momentum in this fight.  While there is a great deal of work which remains to be done to train Afghan Security Forces, improve local governance and eliminate extremist sanctuaries, I’m confident that our troops—given the time and resources—can achieve those goals and build upon this momentum.

“As the President recommits his Administration and our troops to implementing a robust counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, we must continue to send a strong message to the Afghan people that we have a long-term commitment to their security.  The flexibility provided to our commanders, as a result of the NATO Summit in Lisbon, underscores this commitment and ensures any withdrawal of U.S. troops will be based on conditions on the ground.

“In the 112th Congress, I intend to place the Armed Services Committee on a war footing with a renewed focus on winning in Afghanistan.  As part of that effort, we intend to hear directly from General Petraeus early next year on the conditions on the ground, where progress is being made, what challenges exist, and where he believes we can begin transitioning security responsibilities from our troops to Afghanistan’s security forces.  We will also focus on whether our military forces have the tools, support and training they need to win in Afghanistan.”

“Finally, I intend to travel to Afghanistan early next year to receive an on-the-ground assessment of the current security conditions and meet first hand with our nation’s commanders and troops.”