Spanberger Presses Administration on Afghanistan Strategy, Need to Prevent Resurgence of Terrorism in the Region

During a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing, the Congresswoman Pressed a Senior State Department Official on the Administration’s Afghanistan Strategy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger yesterday asked an administration official about the White House’s strategy for balancing troop reductions in Afghanistan with a strategy to ensure Afghanistan does not become fertile ground for terrorist organizations.

During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing focused on the administration’s Afghanistan policy, Spanberger questioned witnesses on how best to pursue a cohesive strategy that both reduces the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and prevents Afghanistan from again becoming a hotbed for terrorism. Specifically, she communicated to Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells her concerns about the Taliban’s willingness and ability to rein in terrorist activity in Afghanistan—even if they promised to do so as part of the agreement with the United States.

Click here to watch her full comments, and click here to watch the full hearing.

“After 18 long years in Afghanistan and thousands of American lives sacrificed in the service of our country, Afghanistan stands in a bloody stalemate. Especially in the wake of the President’s call for troop reductions and the recent breakdown of negotiations with the Taliban, we need to craft an Afghanistan policy that prioritizes a diplomatic end to the conflict and takes into consideration all risks associated with major troop withdrawals,” said Spanberger. “Yesterday’s hearing was an opportunity to learn more about negotiations with the Taliban and how the withdrawal of U.S. forces could destabilize Afghanistan, as well as the greater region. We can’t allow the mountains of Afghanistan to again become a launch pad for attacks against the United States—but we must also pursue a balanced strategy that eventually allows American servicemen and women to return home. This challenging foreign policy dilemma is one of the most critical national security questions facing our country, and I’ll keep working to advocate for solutions that prevent terrorism, protect our interests abroad, and keep our security partners safe.”

Currently, the United States maintains a force level of approximately 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of active U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization counterterrorism and training missions. Last month, President Trump signaled his intention to reduce this U.S. troop presence to 8,600 servicemembers.

BACKGROUND

A former Central Intelligence Agency case officer, Spanberger is a proud Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she has advocated for a reexamined, smart strategy toward future U.S. military and diplomatic engagement around the world. She has also advocated for a balanced foreign policy strategy that continues support for our close allies and maintains support for counterterrorism operations.

In July 2019, Spanberger participated in a conversation alongside U.S. Representative Michael Waltz (R-FL-06) about the future of U.S. counterterrorism operations. During their conversation—hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, both Spanberger and Waltz discussed U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and the long-term threat posed by geopolitical conditions that could foster the future rise of extremist organizations and terrorist groups in the region. Click here to watch the full conversation, and click here to read a full transcript.

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