December 16, 2010

Chairman Kerry Welcomes Progress In Afghanistan, Announces New Oversight Hearings

Washington, D.C. –Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) today issued the following statement on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review: 

“The administration review provides welcome evidence of progress in key parts of Afghanistan, particularly the Taliban heartland of Kandahar, and underscores that the President’s commitment to transferring authority to the Afghans has created a useful sense of urgency. At the same time, the assessment reminds us of the fragile nature of our progress, the challenges in other parts of Afghanistan, and the persistent problem of sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan.

“We need to remain clear eyed and realistic in measuring progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our strategy and resources must match our objectives and our core mission, which is not building a perfect state, but defeating Al Qaeda and denying it and its partners a secure base from which to launch attacks on the United States and its allies.

“When it comes to the conflict in Afghanistan and the situation in Pakistan, oversight has been job number 1 for the Foreign Relations Committee. We’ve had 14 hearings and produced two investigative reports. The Committee is now planning our next major series of oversight hearings when the new Congress convenes next year. Getting Afghanistan and Pakistan right requires focus and thoughtfulness not just from the administration, but from all of us in the Senate.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will continue its oversight of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan with a robust series of public hearings set to begin after the new Congress starts. Among the core issues on which the hearings will focus are:  

  • Progress in training and fielding the Afghan army and national police as preparations proceed for the transition to Afghan leadership on the battlefield.
  • Assessing the capabilities and intent of Al Qaeda and other groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Evaluating the role for Afghanistan’s government, its regional neighbors and the international community in resolving the conflict.

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