WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Monday after bombings in Kabul, Afghanistan and Lahore, Pakistan killed scores of civilians in both countries:
“I condemn the horrendous bombings today in both Kabul and Lahore and I offer my condolences to the families of those killed and wounded. These events are vivid reminders of the insecurity in that region perpetrated by violent extremist and terrorist groups. The people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Asia more broadly deserve peace, stability, and prosperity—goals that are achieved not by solely military means, but by shoring up the democratic rule of law, combating corruption, and ensuring respect for the human rights of all. It is in the United States’ national security interests to see these goals realized so that the region cannot be used as a foothold for those who would do us or our allies harm.
So I am concerned that, after six months in office, President Trump has offered no clear or compelling strategy for how his Administration will approach the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The United States has sacrificed greatly in the struggle to fight terrorist groups and violent extremism in this part of the world. Looking forward, we need to work with our partners in the region and in the international community to get it done right—with an eye toward achieving a negotiated political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan and promoting accountable governance and security institutions in the region that can sustain peace and deliver justice. I urge the Trump Administration to engage in dialogue with Congress soon, and with concrete details, regarding these issues.”