April 19, 2021

Statement from Chairman Menendez Following Classified Committee Briefing on Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Committee received a classified briefing from the Biden administration on the negotiation process and security situation in Afghanistan:

“I very much appreciated the Administration’s willingness to provide our Committee with unvarnished facts about the future of U.S.-Afghan policy after a war that has gone on for a very long time and at great sacrifice by U.S. service members, our diplomats, and aid workers.

“I share the President’s desire to get our troops out of Afghanistan, but I continue to have concerns about our ability to protect the hard fought gains made for the rights of Afghan women and minorities, as well as our confidence level that Afghanistan will not again become a haven for terrorists.  How we withdraw and what political arrangement is left in our wake is critically important. 

“Now that the President has made this decision, we need to come together to focus on the implications and chart a path forward that ensures we are not forced to send our troops back. As a follow-up to today’s briefing, I will convene a full committee hearing in the coming weeks to further examine in an open setting the implications of a withdrawal for U.S. national security interests in the region, a full accounting of the diplomatic and development tools we have to pursue our interests, and what it will mean for the people of Afghanistan.”

Today’s briefing was conducted by the Honorable Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation; David Helvey, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense or indo-Pacific Security Affairs; and briefers from the intelligence community.

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