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Rep. McCaul: Political Amendment Sends Wrong Message to the Taliban

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Washington, D.C.- Yesterday, Congressman Michael McCaul, Republican Leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, submitted the below statement for the record to assert his opposition to NDAA amendment #614. Rep. Omar’s rash amendment, which ultimately failed, would have directed the President to completely withdraw from Afghanistan by April, thus prohibiting the presence of a potentially vital U.S. residual force that could be needed for counterterrorism purposes.” McCaul’s full statement for the record is below. 

-Full Statement for the Record-

Madame Speaker, I agree with Ranking Member Thornberry in opposing this irresponsibly unbalanced amendment.

This text one-sidedly declares it to be the policy of the United States to complete the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by April.It directs what “the President shall” do, but makes no mention of the Taliban’s obligations that would render any withdrawal more advisable or feasible.

By focusing only on U.S. withdrawal, it re-casts the conditions-based U.S.-Taliban agreement as a retreat declaration, rather than a roadmap toward peace. The reality is that the President has been drawing down U.S. troops in Afghanistan.But contrary to the aim of this amendment, the President also has and needs the authority to maintain a residual force to address potential counterterrorism needs and the shifting situation on the ground.

More importantly, the Taliban must uphold their commitments – starting the intra-Afghan dialogue, cutting ties with al Qaeda, securing a permanent cease-fire, and preempting threats to U.S. security – or face the consequences.Those are the real steps needed for securing both a responsible U.S. withdrawal and a lasting, inclusive peace for the people of Afghanistan.

Instead of acknowledging that, this political amendment sends the wrong message to the Taliban at the wrong time just to provide veto bait against a bill critical for U.S. national security. U.S. policy should be to urge the Taliban to uphold their commitments, not to rashly abandon our Afghan partners to fend for themselves against the Taliban and its deplorable record on human rights. The people of Afghanistan deserve better and as such, I urge a “no” vote.

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Author: Caroline Campbell

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