tv House Foreign Affairs Hearing on U.S. Afghanistan Policy CSPAN September 20, 2019 2:00am-4:54am EDT
the committee will come to order. without objection, all members have five days to visit made statements and questions for the record subject to the limitation of the rules. ambassador wells and ms. friedman, welcome to the members of the public and the press as well. we are glad to have our friends from c-span here as well. we need this mornings of the committee conduct oversight of the administration's policy towards afghanistan and iran now recognize myself for an opening statement. for months we've been attempting to get some visibility into the ongoing peace negotiations without success. we all want peace and the fighting in afghanistan do and do. congress needs to know what the potential deal looks like and members need the chance to ask
questions and offer views and in the last few weeks, we've seen the reconciliation process go off the rails in a spectacular fashion area to be learned from a presidential message that the administration was planning to host the caliban at camp david the same week that we marked the anniversary of 9/11. we learned that the president of into that arrangement and we learned that the peace deal evidently is dead. if accurate, the president's deciding got the better of him again and now months and months of diplomatic effort seems to be thrown out the window. as the committee that oversees the american foreign policy, we understand there were a lot of questions about the diplomatic effort and the administration's refusal to provide us into the american people answers to subpoena the top negotiator and we've asked them to testify today. just to be clear i do not take
subpoena is lively and wouldn't have issued this happy no puppyt three letters inviting him and asking the secretary of we simply couldn't wait any longer and after i issued a subpoena i spoke with the secretary of the state department's request and he offered to send him to testify in from the ambassador to brief myself and mr. mccall on the setting.
we just wrapped up that classified briefing and are going now to continue with the officials before us, so let's take a step back. i'm from new york city an and do myself and a lot of new yorkers have lived through 9/11 it's a tough pill to swallow and since then, many that have lost their lives at the hands of taliban fighters after 18 years of war the taliban still exists. we need to deal with that fact and the adage remains true that you believe it or not there's common ground for starters the taliban once our troops out of afghanistan and we want our troops. any viable deal needs to be built on three pillars.
first is that the taliban was pledged in afghanistan will never be used again as a base to plan attacks against the united states and allies. we understand the administration secured their commitment from the taliban and earlier negotiations. second, they must agree to separate from al qaeda, something they've indicated they would do and now lastly the taliban and afghan government must engage in a good-faith process that can lead to reconciliation among all afghans. this area still has a lot of unanswered questions that with the president declaring it dead, it isn't clear where we go from here. the way i see it we need to use whatever leverage we can to promote dialogue. the president suggested peace would be possible unless we first a cease-fire complaints. well guess what, there was in june, 2018 to celebrate, and what did we do to seize this
opportunity, nothing. why, because the administration has hollowed out the state department and the complaint about this for a long time. the inspector general found of the bureau of south and central asia to have lost both staff and expertise into the administration including experts on peace talks where the taliban reconciliation. so, what will this administration do to get a second bite at the apple it might create an opening for more dialogue. i would like to hear from the witnesses among any other issues. it's one thing is crystal clear, there is no military solution to end the fighting in afghanistan and if there is another opportunity even following the president's disastrous attempt at dealmaking to forge the piece that advances american security interests, we need to consider those options and we all wish that those that, we always to those that lost their lives in
9/11 and we owe it to the future generations who don't want to see our country entrenched in an endless war and the people who want a peaceful and prosperous future for their country. we will soon hear from our witnesses but yielded to the ranking member for any opening remarks he might have. it brings good results for the american people as well. >> thank you for holding this important hearing. also i'd like to thank the ambassador for briefing the members this morning we had a robust and informative discussion arranged in timely issues and we look forward to staying engaged with them. we stand unified and this is the
second oldest committee and the congress dating back to the continental congress. we do have article one constitutional oversight responsibilities it was one of the most tragic days in american history, and the aftermath of 9/11, counterterrorism and homeland security became our top priority. to militarily attacked abroad, that strategy included invading afghanistan, destroying al qaeda. since 2001, we have achieved many successes on the battlefield and through diplomacy. we killed osama bin laden and the rising leader from the
battlefield and most importantly we've not allow afghanistan to be the staging ground for another devastating attack on the homeland. we've also helped implement many political and social reforms. millions in afghanistan have voted in democratic elections at all levels. and afghan women are not allowed to attend schools during the brutal reign of the taliban in the 1990s and have made significant gains in play was pleased to hear they were part of these negotiations. they've not been without great sacrifices. over 20,000 wounded we must never forget the courage and price we pay to protect the
homeland and build a better future for afghanistan. unfortunately the taliban made significant gains and today they control over 50% of the country and have become increasingly violent. but after 18 years in the battlefield, the american people and members of congress want to know what our plan is for peace moving forward. i'm glad that the president decided against welcoming leaders of the taliban to camp david. perhaps the current suspension of talks will allow us to reevaluate our strategy. in this committee, mr. chairman, i should say, and the congress has a role in the process. there is no doubt that all of us would like to see this come to an end and i fully support their efforts to bring a diplomatic resolution to this conflict.
it's not a monolithic organization to engage with the organization's central leadership overlooks the local power brokers who do not always follow them. we also have to keep in mind they have some long-standing objections to the negotiated peace. they think our military will come home, no matter what. i think some more extremist fashions are responsible for that attack just to end the peace negotiations. and as the ambassador has assessed many times in afghanistan, when he said that the taliban will offer any number of commitments knowing that when we are gone and the taliban is back, we will have no means of enforcing any of them. we must also avoid the same mistake president obama made by withdrawing all of our truths
for the purpose of preventing another 9/11 style attack on the homeland i personally believe that we should keep a residual force in place to focus on counterterrorism intelligence and partner force training. i'd also like to thank the ambassador for being here. the hearing comes at a critical time. we did commend the ambassador special envoy this morning for his commitment and service to the country in what i consider to be one of the most difficult negotiations on the planet. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i will now introduce our witnesses. the acting assistant secretary of state for south central in asian affairs. karen freeman as the assistant to the administrator in the
office of afghanistan and pakistan affairs in the united stateand unitedstates agency fol development and i again thank you both for your service and for your testimony this morning. without objection to witness his prepared testimony will be made a part of the record and i will now recognize the witnesses for five minutes each to summarize their testimony and we'll start with ambassador wells. >> distinguished members of the committee, i appreciate the opportunity to testify this morning on the trump administration's policy in afghanistan. last week in new york, washington and kabul and about what we commemorated the 18th anniversary of the attacks on the united states. and when the u.s. began its military engagement in afghanistan, our core interest was clear to ensure that afghanistan would never again be a platform for a terrorist attack on america and in that regard, our mission over the last 18 years in partnership with our allies has been a
success. since 9/11, no terrorist group has used afghanistan to attack the shores. but the threat remains significant. afghanistan remains a haven for terrorist organizations. the correspondence demonstrated that the intent to organize workeraspire and has the capacid willingness to indiscriminately kill civilians who do not support the ideology. in april, russia, china joined us in calling on the television to make good on its commitment to cut ties with international terrorist groups to prevent terrorists recruiting, training, fund raising and to expound any service. while the united states remains committed to countering the threat of takeover some from afghanistan, the administration's understands that the american people are ready to end the war responsibly. they will not bring peace or eliminate those exploiting the
afghan soil. soil. a negotiated political settlement accepted by most afghans remains the best way to ensure a durable peace and to enable afghans to focus on ridding the country of international terrorists. in the last 12 months we've made significant progress towards this objective and the taliban engaged in dialogue with the united states into discussions with fellow afghans including the afghan government officials wrebuild support for peace and lasting a help of pakistan, russia, the eu members and regional partners and consultation within the u.s. government are continuing on the best way forward. as we foster the conditions for the direct negotiations between the afghans where we are rationalizing the risk of exposure to ensure the sustainable, diplomatic and
military presence, diplomatically we've reduced the civilian presence from 100 personnel in 2011 to around 500 staff today. we have tapered civilian assistance to about $480 million today. our partners are contributing three quarters of all development and humanitarian assistance to afghanistan afghan troops are leading the fight against isis and the taliban and over 9 million students are enrolled in schools, 39% of them girls.
the private sector is strengthening supply chains and building market linkages with india and central asia. the challenges remain over half the afghan population lives below the poverty line, corruption, government malfeasance at record high opium production since sustainability we will continue to hold the afghan government accountable for combating corruption and we will adjust the levels accordingly. afghanistan is holding a presidential election september 28 and we've called for the afghan government and electoral institution to ensure that the election will be credible and transparent. all candidates are accountable to the code of conduct they signed pledging to respect the electoral process. afghans have the right to vote without fear of intimidation, attack or violence and the taliban statement threatening the workers and voters we offer strong support to the afghan security forces that are in
charge of electoral security and sacrificed their lives in a daily basis. even as afghanistan goes to the polls come afghans cannot pause their efforts to advance peace. finally the united states will continue to safeguard american security for too long they've taken comfort in their convictions in the engagement as unsustainable. chairman, ranking member and members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to discuss the role of usaid and supporting the interests in afghanistan. sincof afghanistan. since may of this year development and humanitarian
partners have sustained attacks by the taliban that resulted in a loss of life and injury staff these are senseless attacks on people who dedicated their liv lives. we ask your secretary's calls for the taliban. this week's attack by the taliban on energy. we are happy to note that they constructed a power plant providing immediate backup supply of energy. attacked from civilians as well as those that several facilitate
and advance the economy and standard of living for the afghan people that must stop. earlier this year the u.s. embassy in kabul led to the review of all civilian assistance which directed the department and agent needs to focus on three objectives from supporting the afghan peace process, preserving stabilization of the afghan state and assisting afghans transition to self-reliance to create conditions for the political process. the strategy in afghanistan aligns with and supports the objective by accelerating the private sector led economic growth, advancing education and health gains made over the past 18 years particularly for women and girls and increasing accountability between the afghan government and its citizens. usaid has pressed the government afghanistan to take the lead in the country's own future and make the development game sustainable. a few weeks ago, i joined by
colleagues to close the formal review of the u.s. government civilian assistance to afghanistan. we unequivocally stressed the minister of finance a transparent, effective citizen response of government systems are essential to achieving private sector growth and attracting investment. the government continues to convey to all afghans the country's relationship with the international community will depend heavily upon the inclusivity of any potential settlement which must preserve the rights and the dignity of women. we also expect the upcoming elections to schedule for september 28 to be transparent and credible. the government must recommit and redouble its efforts to enhance transparency, increase the citizen responsiveness and reduce the corruption that weakens the afghan citizens faith in the government. over the past 18 years, the games have been significant and the energy sector more than 30%
now have access to the power grid. more importantly, they are also working directly with the afghan utility to improve its management systems and ability to collect revenue. this has helped double revenue collections and increase its customer base by 73% in just a few years. usaid is working with the afghan ministry of public health to increase access to basic healthcare and in shorter the sustainability throughout the development of effective partnerships. in the education sector, not only have usaid programs supported millions of students, but the future generation of afghan women will have opportunities such as the result of a usaid partnership with texas a&m university. afghanistan is a different place than i was in 2001 and people are capable of more as it achieves the response of good governance to transparency.
usaid is prepared to support the needs and opportunities that could arrive as a political settlement. the trajectory remains clear, civilian assistance helps create economic and social conditions necessary for peace and self-reliance by focusing on long-term broad-based development and reinforcing efforts to reduce violence and to stimulate peace settlement to end the conflict with the taliban. thank you for your attention and for inviting me here today. >> thank you very much. let me ask both of you this question. you both mentioned in your remarks by u.s. assistance to afghanistan moving forward. could each of you please explain which role the department could propose and how such good support the peace and reconciliation? >> thank you. we were trying to ensure the
level of assistance we were providing for afghanistan was sustainable and structured in a way that encourages the sector into it elicits the government performance so thagovernmentpere government increasingly has the capacity and the ability to assume all functions of a sovereign state and at the same time to add sure the investment in afghanistan reflects the level of investment within global threats. obviously there's been a lot that's changed since 9/11. afghanistan isn't the only country in which we face a terrorist threat and so we wanted to be able to signal through the posture and the restructuring that we are committed to the long-term development of afghanistan but not overcommitted to the point that we are assuming. as always best practices reviewed the mission presence
worldwide. in afghanistan over the last 18 months, we established a new development strategy that focuses on establishing the conditions necessary for peace and self-reliance. and we responsibly revised portfolio based on lessons learned and input from the various stakeholders. so, during the recent embassy led assistance review, we sought to further consolidate the portfolio while ensuring its ability to manage and provide proper oversight over the taxpayers resources and ability to implement the program. we took into account the interest and feedback from our congressional committees and the administration's priority is to support the afghan peace process to preserve stabilization as an afghan state and to assist afghanistan's transition to self-reliance. during the course of the review,
we had a great deal of input and a lot of thought on what that consolidation should look like and took that old man as recently as a couple of months ago and we have consolidated the portfolio to mesh with the appropriate number of staff. the forces were responsible for more civilian casualties than the taliban in the six months of 2019. what accounts for the increase of the casualties at the hands of nato forces that have any significant changes.
coalition forces working with the afghans to do everything possible to try to avoid civilian casualties is one of thimplementthe highest levels of accountability, and i would contrast this with the focus of the taliban in targeting. statistically, the taliban over time have been the largest contributors to the civilian casualties and statistics that we saw what we don't necessarily agree with the methodology on our operations, and i think the intent of the forces and afghan forces are very different from the intent of the terrorists who are literally terrorizing the afghan civilian population. >> thank you. do you gregory clark's
>> thank you, mr. chairman. the taliban postevent protected al qaeda both pre- 9/11, on and after 9/11, so there is a healthy amount of skepticism about cutting a deal with the taliban. i remember visiting with the ambassador in kabul when this idea was launched. i guess the question is what other alternative do we have when they occupied 50% of afghanistan. i suppose that is a necessary step or is there any other alternative to that?
>> they understand from the nine rounds of negotiations that that can only come about if they are committed it cannot be a platform for international terrorism. >> on that timeline, would that also include the complete withdrawal of the u.s. forces? >> i can't speak to what it's going to look like as you know for now, the process is suspended, but certainly the discussion was very much about the inner relationship between the troops international forces and the ability of the taliban to ensure not only were they allowed to offer data on disloyal thathisloyal that theye over but no recruiting or fund d raising, no tolerance of the sanctuaries.
given the history levels i'm glad they kept the residual force and i think that we should have one in afghanistan for the foreseeable future if only to protect the homeland. let me ask about isis when i was the chairman of the homeland security particularly 2015 to 2016, pretty terrifying briefings and one of the most active groups out there. the notion is that they are going to war with isis and the group terry at how accurate is the information?
>> to combat the course, i think one of the reasons we put such an emphasis on peace is that they need to be united and isis has been able to take advantage of the fact of the insurgency in the war that'and the war that'sn afghanistan to exploit the territory despite what has been very fierce effort by the resolute support mission. it's difficult to eliminate their presence entirely. >> and that is based on the premise that they would be more willing to partner with the government and the word with isis? >> we would assume a peace agreement would unify and reflect the will of all of the afghan people, and that would allow a concentrated effort
against what will be terrorist forces in afghanistan. there's a vegetable soup of the militant organizations that have a presence in afghanistan. >> sometimes you have to deal with the world the way it is and there's not a lot of great choices here. last question, a withdrawal from afghanistan, what assurances could you give, and you can't predict the future that this would result and then we have a taliban controlled afghanistan. >> what animates all of the diplomacy is the president and the secretary is commitment to
the security of the american people. so any peace deal is going to be structured to ensure that afghanistan cannot and will not reemerge as a threat to america. on the hypotheticals, i don't like answering hypotheticals but let me put it this way. they say they want to be a legitimate part of the international community. they argue that they want to attract the foreign direct investment. they say they've learned lessons from the isolation of afghanistan under the taliban rule in the late 1990s going to have to be a government that upholds the standards and values that the international community has been looking into and still there's a substantial amount of
leverage on how we engage. >> you go to the mountain into the desert and there is an inherent potential conflict i think that is the greatest challenge the state department has. thank you, mr. chairman. >> ambassador, welcome back. we look forward to seeing you again. in my district there's a number of others we will have a peaceful and prosperous afghanistan unless pakistan wants to see a peaceful and prosperous afghanistan. the border between afghanistan
and pakistan is the durand line, but no government of afghanistan has never accepted that and including the taliban and the current government seeme seems e on the position that it should actually be part of afghanistan. it seems unlikely that they will be voting for a peaceful and prosperous afghanistan if the afghan government is actively claiming a big chunk of the territory. does the united states accept the line is the border between pakistan and afghanistan? >> we do recognize the boundary between afghanistan and pakistan. >> can we persuade the
government to if not permanently accept the line, declared they will not use violence in an effort to change the border. >> a great deal of effort has gone into trying to increase the cooperation between afghanistan and pakistan. yesterday we were very pleased to see the prime minister opened up the border for 24/seven trade. it's going to be practical steps. >> i think we can move towards practical steps that we are also dealing with this festering problem we are supposed to have had a deal and then it came down and we rejected it.
since the deal seemed to have envisioned, there might be reasons. i'm trying to understand why and the reason given by the president is that there is one instance in which one american soldier was killed, but at the same time, the secretary said we have engaged in the operations n that killed over a thousand taliban fighters. did we really have a deal with the taliban that they wouldn't attack us but we would attack them and their violation of the
field is wide we didn't go forward on the agreement. the president and secretary have spoken to this and basically what we saw, the taliban actions that we saw in the days leading up to the potential agreement on the political framework are inconsistent with the nine rounds of negotiations be held with them and we saw the taliban attempting to use violence as a form of intimidation and they took actions that were basically inconsistent with what was going to need to be a reduction in violence. there is this idea that they are going to prevent recruiting and fundraising by terrorists in their territory. by those in the united states where we have fbi offices in
every major city, what verification system would we have on the ground in the tub and controlled areas to see that there wasn't a terrorist presence or recruited fund raising. >> i'm not going to be able to speak to the specifics of what was negotiated that this was a conditions-based approach and built into the discussions. >> are you aware of any verification system or was their trust and don't bother to verify? >> it is very much about being able to verify and have confidence that they have taken the steps that they had undertaken to implement. >> but you are not aware of any verification systems. >> i'm not in a position to discuss thank you for being here
there's a generation of americans that have grown up approaching 20 years of age. we've been at this conflict for 19 years and we know all of the expense and loss of life that can never be replaced. the person that brings the peace deal to this conflict will win a nobel peace prize being able to lose that.
the taliban said they learned from some of the mystique they made in the past, but they are going to sit across the table in any negotiation are those that have come of age also with these new freedoms and abilities to contribute to their society whether it is women or minorities and they consistently indicate that they don't want to give up the social and political gains. that's going to have to be negotiated between the two sides. what's interesting there are two points. the most conservative areas will be true in the government controlled areas as well for the boulders now to be educated it
is a new reality. >> are those people at the table that are demanding that collects >> the afghan negotiators will sit down across from the taliban and bringing the demands to the table. >> i hope that this winds down its understood it isn't accepted anywhere in the world with their high debt and bad terms initiatives and just recently the 16th of this month, china signals veto the standoff over afghanistan because the feelings were hurt because it wasn't brought up. have the chines chinese then the influencing any of this either way or are they preventing a
settlement for >> they've looked with the ambassador as have other regional countries including russia and a media neighbors on a way forward on peace, so there is constructive engagement on how do we prosecute peace. but i think that it's fair to say china has not contributed to the economic development of afghanistan. we have not seen any substantial assistance from china. it is a slogan. it's not a reality and we continue to warn our partners and the afghan government about falling prey to predatory loans that are designed to benefit only -- >> with the corruption they will fall right into that and if they haven't contributed to the peace process or the rebuilding of this nation, they should have no say in this. and i hope that we stand strong on that because we have seen the
effect china has done. doing the work you are in need of making the games they were doing, i appreciate that and the rollout of the bill back in october, our goal was to establish, identify significant infrastructure develop that we can go in and as a trusted partner that we are going to do something that is best for the afghan people to build their economy so we can develop jobs for them. do you have any thoughts on where we can go with that? >> let me echo the ambassadors bought on the ongoing forward. over the last 18 years, the change has been so great in terms of the law, education,
increases in trade, the civil society, and it's created a reflective demand in areas that you can see what's happened. in terms of infrastructure, we continue to work with the government to strengthen their ability so i think what you will be seeing in terms of the program is to involve the government and the private sector. >> i'm out of time. thank you. >> good morning and thank you for being here, ambassador. the district i represent is across from the world trade
center and we watched. it was beyond me what the thought process was. can you tell me what was the thought behind that >> i think the president himself spoke openly about the process on camp david and vacation. i would underscore that again it shows this is an administration willing to take risks to promote peace, but i appreciate your concern. >> that is a little bit too much to swallow. it was days after the towers came down.
it's not appropriate to bring them to camp david to do and negotiation. there are many places that you can meet to negotiate. i keep reading that they have been vocal about refusing to engage in the government and previous attempts. how will we be able to come to any kind of peace if these people don't talk to each other, what are the prospects of talking to each other. the series of negotiations was
to bring them together to a negotiating table and the conversations we were having with the television with the prelude to the national negotiating team the informal dialogue that took place in july included members of the government as a part of the delegation meeting so again i think that we have broken a new ground as the result of this last series of negotiations that took place. would like some incentives be to engage in good-faith dialogue with the government, what can we offer to them? >> i don't think we need to talk about incentives, but we need to talk about the mutual interest. they have an interest in being
able to participate legitimately in a government that is recognized by the international community and to avoid the cost of war. the appreciate is based on what they said publicly that there is a cost to the afghanistan development via the ongoing war and also the rise of other groups that oppose a risk to themselves into their future. in 2001, the taliban controlled the entire country, so, no.
the taliban do not control any provincial capital. they do not rule in any province of afghanistan. when they fight a fight and then they have to leave because they cannot sustain control over the district centers or the provincial centers. the taliban are very good at diplomacy and messaging. they are by no means controlling afghanistan. i hesitate to get involved because they can be very misleading. if you look at all with of disss and afghanistan where the majority of the population reside on the basi, this is undt control and benefiting from development of the last 18 years. >> my time is up. thank you very much. >> i thank you both for being here and it means a lot that you
are willing to take the time to talk about these tough issues. first off, we need a bit of a reset in the narrative from the endless war and look at where we are really after. i do want to say i think that i'm going to add myself t to the record, the meeting was an utter disaster that never should have happened and it infuriated me and people that wanted to get out of afghanistan and take them off. i have no clue how that could have gone through any kind of filter not just ideas but how they got to where it was going to happen. so i hope that never happens again. and especially on the anniversary of 9/11. so, i got back but i do want to say i think the thing we have to keep in mind is this fight but
we are fighting is a generational battle. it took us decades to overthrow the soviet union and it wasn't through fighting. it took the generation behind the iron curtain to make the decision but they didn't want to live like that and that is what overthrew and tour down the iron curtain. it's great to be fighting them where they exist but also, and this is where usaid some of those initiatives, and. linda hope and opportunity so they can see there is an opportunity for a life outside of radicalization that you can look past the age of 15 when they struck a suicide bomb to you and tell you to walk into a crowded café or something like that. bringing hope and opportunity is how you are going to fix this situation in the united states and prevent people from recruiting terrorists. and i think that is what we have to keep in mind.
we are the ones that reacted in a fierce and intense way and we need to understand that because if we leave afghanistan under the wrong conditions, which i think we are on track to do we are going to be back here today and talk about how this is the first time the kid is fighting the same war as his dad that we are going to have a grandkid fighting the same one as his grandpa if we leave afghanistan anin a bad situation because thy aren't going to quit trying to come here and the reason we are not thinking of terrorism as much as they have in the past is because we are being successful in fighting it. to not be able to train and recruit as much as they used to be able to and we are keeping them on the defensive. i have to ask you a couple of
quick questions. we killed a thousand taliban, maybe some hundred or thousand, a million, i don't know what it is but we did kill them after we came out of the negotiations. the question i have this doesn't mean we were not targeting them at all and we were allowing them to regroup and retrain or have we beethey been prosecuting thet anyway? we have been fighting and talking our way through the negotiations and the only distinction that i would make we distinguish between a nationalist insurgency and a group like isis so the ability to negotiate a peace settlement is to that insurgency so that consolidated government can focus on what is truly a generational threat to all of
us. we do that through the prosecution and say we are willing to have peace but until we do, it's going to be painful. your kids and grandkids may have to fight this but hopefully we can get to a peace settlement. whatever the word he's used which by the way is brand-new claiming he wants to leave a.
we thought the administration made too many statements. i want to say thank you for your work and being here thanks for your service to the country and mr. chairman, i will yield back. >> i also want to reiterate what my colleague just said. thank you for your service and to the service of the diplomats and workers around the world. with the monetary investments that we have made over the last 18 years in the region, we want to give afghanistan the best possibility of success, and it's not going to be easy so i can then most of you as negotiators to try to find the path forward. and we've got to continue as
well as with the military that we will always have a mission that also knowing that and we want to focus on some of the countries within the region notably a few countries that are not having the best relationship right now are going to be vitally important to afghanist afghanistan. let's insured the desire to get a deal in afghanistan potentially has been negotiati
negotiating. from your perspective. >> what we see are the two countries that both have national security interests in afghanistan, and both countries will benefit fight in afghanistan thaby an afghanistad stable. i think the principle that has to undergird relation ships in the region is a respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty that no militant proxies are state actors are acceptable. and our diplomacy to the region, that undergirds our approach. if you look at afghanistan being a blocking point between the flow of trade and energy, it is ten times more expensive than it is in central asia, but you can't get it there because of the instability in afghanistan.
how do we frame an outcome where everybody benefits i being able to create stable and enduring political structures. i think there is a conversation. that certainly has guided the end passenger ambassadors for ph other regional actors. >> as we take that multilateral approach, again, complicated region i would agree with you that we do need the players in that region to be sitting at the table. helping to negotiate a peace deathe peacedeal and obviously t to withdraw. with that comes a lot of resources that we have dedicated and there are a few countries in the region that has billions of dollars to construction, and for the hope of china in a
afghanistan. >> especially on the anniversary of two thousand one. this would've been resolved a long time going september 11th 2001, al qaeda terrorists murdered thousands of americans. countless first responders have died since because of exposure to toxic chemicals at ground zero. the days and weeks in the months that followed september 11th 2001, our decision to go afghanistan was correct. it was legitimate. i'm glad that we made that decision when we did to deliver justice to defend america. it's been a great cost here in our own country. just as have been delivered
overseas. some of on love and is dead and many others who have followed his feet. there is a great cause, the greatest cost at attacking us interest as we saw on september 11th, 2001. so while we mourn the live here in the united states, but should go not go unnoticed for adversaries abroad is the unlimited amount of resolve and will of our country to deliver justice to anyone who seeks harm to us. there are terrorist groups there and around afghanistan, who would like to continue to kill americans. they would like to continue to target us interests. and here we are. eighteen years later, many in the united states want to end war in afghanistan quite frankly, every american should want to and anymore. both of it's in afghanistan or anywhere, we should not want war
in the first place. but as i said in a calf and sand, are decision to go in was correct and legitimate. the taliban wants us out. i want to be able to thanks you a question with regards to what the afghanistan government wants and how we do with it. these naïve to think that we just leave afghanistan today and everything just works itself out on its own. i believe strongly that the vacuum it's not successfully filled at this moment. good people in afghanistan and government, not right now. how do we get to the result that we want. this morning this committee met with ambassador, i thought it was a good meeting and i'm not allowed to get into it because it was a classified briefing. i just had believe it was very helpful for that meeting to take place. i believe that should happen again and i believe we should be spending more time together. it's good for us here on this community to hear from him, in that setting and i also think
it's good for the state department to hear from us. to get fresh eyes and to get other perspectives and that brings me back to my question. in her time left, in an unclassified setting, can you pick speak to where we are at with the afghanistan government and what they desire as far as the american presidents and how do we get the afghanistan government in a place where we can leave and the good guys in afghanistan government fill that vacuum. so that we are in a position to leave. >> the critical.is that we don't want to leave or abandon afghanistan at all. what we want is to have a sustainable enduring partnership with and get a stand. currently with this government, bilateral security reit arrangement, who bind us together and partners as and allies. i think afghan government very much want to see the partnership with the american people and the american private sector and the
american government to continue. right now we provide about 80 percent for the security sector. i think we have to build confidence in afghan as a sit down at the table with the taliban. that the international community it's not looking to run away. today for instance in london, there was a meeting of donors. they were discussing how and what would we do in the if it of a peace treaty. how do we respond to peace. how we create economic programs that will help a new afghanistan government get on his feet and succeed. through doing this kind of an organization through engaging, afghan government and ultimately the telephone. i think we need to single very clearly, just not to walk away. >> i appreciate that answer. with regards to military presence. i think it's important to note
that the days of the united states military having the amount of numbers that we have now it's not one that we want to be continuing indefinitely. that was specifically what i was getting at. i very much appreciate your answer for being here. i think the chair for hosting this if it. >> i think you both. >> and mr. wells, what is the current state of the relationship between the taliban and al qaeda and what if anything did the taliban agree to in respect to that relationship in this framework if they did. >> the telephone had never repudiated the relationship with al qaeda. in what is been said publicly about conversations and negotiations as a taken place
with the taliban is that in this condition based framework, we were looking to the taliban to cut off all sanctuary the ability of any al qaeda members to reside there, to recruit there and congregate there, to operate. and so it was a complete commitment to eliminate ties and presence of al qaeda. >> with respect to terrorism broadly, is there a framework about the commitments that the taliban makes in respect to terrorism in this proposal. >> it's not for me and sadly not in a setting to go into the details of what was negotiated i wasn't part of the negotiating team but what animates the approach of the administration is that we, the peace agreement must be founded on the principles of american security it's not in peril. that would continue to ensure that afghanistan not become a
platform that we have confidence afghanistan it's not going to become a platform. i can assure you that these concerns are at the very top of the negotiation agenda for the last nine rounds of talks. >> what mechanisms will be available to the united states if it draws down its military presence in the taliban fails to live up to the commitment it makes. are we working with international partners who are interested in supporting the tele- bands are ensuring that the taliban meets its obligations or what is the end enforcement mechanism. how do we have avoid getting back into that situation. what about the commitment and were back again in a place we've been for 18 years. >> again when he can't prejudge what peace agreement would produce but what of just site the secretary comments on this and that is we have a very powerful and capable military and were confident that we are
able to prosecute and protect our interests. >> but a question really is what mechanisms do we have two ensure that the taliban complies with the agreement that we make. >> i can't prejudge what will come out and what will be to finally negotiated in a political framework agreement. >> do you think it's important that the agreement be reached between the afghan government and the taliban prior to any decision on withdrawal by us military personnel and one of the risks of our troops withdrawal proceeds that were proceeds even a countrywide cease-fire. soon all i can say is publicly we have vendors with expectations that interact and dialogue would be taken and would be undertaken in good faith and quickly.
>> how should the united states and international partners in force any taliban commitments on human rights of course been particular with respect to the progress for minorities women and girls. what is your view on how we can most effectively enforce commitments that are made and what is the role of our partners in the international community. this is an area of deep concern. >> i think it's very important that the governess with one voice about the importance we attach to the values and in the constitution in particular with respect from the rights of women and girls education to work outside the home. protection for minorities and again today, in london will be a meeting of donors. one of the central goals is just to underscore this, and commitment that we have. so that the taliban wants to be or if the government that includes the taliban wants to be a legitimate member of the
international community, that's going to be the expectation of the international community. >> are the women engaged in the actual negotiations between or underway at the negotiating table in addition to issues related to women and girls are there women who are participating in this process. >> at the tocsin took place in doha, 25 percent of the non- taliban participants were women. women are members of the high peace council in afghanistan and present body has given public assurances of his intent to have afghan women on any afghan negotiating team. women are certainly critical audience to us and we engage with stakeholders across afghanistan to both expand our approach and to understand their concerns. >> pinkett i yield back. >> you very much. thank you for your attendance
today. it seems to me that the enemy it's not leaving anytime soon. both of it is al qaeda, i says, taliban, elements, you cut me you name it they are all either operating increasing operations or waiting to fill the vacuum. we certainly don't want to abandon the afghan people or are very significant investment in the stability and peace in afghanistan. that having been said i just wonder and i think you said that we are providing 80 percent of the strong support role for afghan security forces customer. >> that's right. and 25 percent of economic and humanitarian assistance. >> based on that, when will they be able to sustain themselves
soon. i think americans are rightly weary of the treasure both in lives and that continues and economically that afghanistan has cost our country with i would say that a lot of people his minds marginally results. were trying to figure out i think is many american citizens how much longer will it be it almost seems like another try to develop capability but they have an incentive to not develop capability as long as we are wheeling to be there at 80 percent. and it's got to come down and they're going to have to take on more of the role and quite honestly some of the neighbors in the area that have been invested interest in afghanistan safety and security have got to take those bigger role. will the afghan government as far as you know allow american
facing as a part of any negotiating deal and settlement that has a diminution of activity or forces in strong support of the security forces of the haul. will they allow us to stay in some regard question. >> we can't know or predict what's going to come out of the novitiate negotiation between afghans and the taliban. >> i'm talking about the afghan government and the united states negotiations between the united states. another taliban what doesn't want us there. that's part of the problem. >> with the afghan government we do have a bilateral arrangement. we reside on afghanistan basis. we have military presence on afghanistan basis. very much our support for the afghan government is premised on afghanistan sovereignty. but a greaser, and the president and the secretary and spoken forcefully about this the 30 billion a year that we spend
to maintain the operations in afghanistan so we are looking to reduce those numbers by trying to rationalize our presence and our approach to the battle in afghanistan. we effectively and successfully increase the amount of if you.to the economic section,. >> i don't mean to interrupt you but i just want to make sure we consider japan and germany sovereign nations but we are afforded basing in those countries. long-term and it seems to me that afghanistan should be the same position but they need to secure their own country. their own subornation and not depend on 80 percent of solution set from the united states in that regard. because of the neighborhood that afghanistan his reside sands, i've been to kabul, it looks indefensible to me. as a military guy, and i wonder
if you can assess if we are going to remain in afghanistan for america's interest. even if it might not be for the sake of the security forces of afghanistan and supporting them at 80 percent or anything close to that but we are going to remain for our own national interests and national security interests so that weekend operate in afghanistan as necessary with al qaeda ices cores on whoever pops their head up what is the best defensible position geographically. we can also sustain it. understand that pakistan's on one side and china up there in a run around the southern and western side and is it to jukka stan is on the order. if we are going to remain there indefinitely like we have in germany and japan for our own national security, what is the best geographic location in your assessment to do that. >> we are not looking for permanent basing in afghanistan. to the contrary we would like to
be able to great conditions for our troops to come home. but in the absence of a conditions allowing that if it continues to be. >> the enemy will remain as you know. >> certainly we would welcome the opportunity to have a counterterrorism relationship with whatever government and merges in afghanistan. i can't predict or conclude what is going to be the case at the end of a negotiation. when it comes to the 80000 figure i've just would add that every one agrees that including afghanistan officials that the size of afghan army now is not sustainable. it is the function of the war that is being taught in partnership with us. but a sustainable and afghan governments that can support its own economic development and support its own security forces would look very different. see if my time has expired i yield. >> thank you.
i'm just going to surprise to heal you and bester say milton road is the slogan not reality. within hilly hearing an awful lot about reality about infrastructure across africa for us ranging from a lot of areas i think it is more than a slogan. second i appreciate mr. sicily me bringing up the point about women. i don't think i share your optimism that weekend trust the taliban to negotiate in good faith with afghan government. in particular gains that had been made by women. over these last 18 years because there are really not at the table. and they are not part of the negotiating process. when i want to thanks about is something we hadn't talked about and that is how when he treats. opium poppies are afghans most valuable cash crop. the running $81,603,000,000 last year afghan. is the largest global producer.
cancer 82 percent of the world his production. we know how many lives have been lost as a result of being addicted to heroin. afghanistan his predictions reach record highs over the last few years except for small because of the doubt. all of our efforts over there have been unsuccessful as special inspector general found that our alternative development programs are is it too short and bring about lasting reductions in the cultivation. sometimes it can tribute it to increase productions. the dod also ended a military counter narcotic campaign in 2017, that failed to yield results. could you talk about how this played into the negotiations. what are our efforts now, what are they to be in what's probably cultivation part of the conversation. why was this so unsuccessful. >> quickly just to clarify.
it's very real, but in afghanistan, is the slogan. they destroy down to look lockdown contracts but not really with investments we share your concern with bobby. how it's criminalizing the economy and the expanding role of opium production in undermining governments and transparency. it is the fundamentally, though it is an issue that is tied to security. eighty to 85 percent of appearance in afghanistan is produced in areas are controlled or on the contested or influenced by the taliban. that is been what has i think prevented much more sustainable approaches to eliminating opium action including alternative livelihoods and crops that are mown valuable than opium. where we've had some success is in establishing some of the structures. the logs and the regulatory structures, the special police units with rates counter narcotics or sensitive
investigation unit and the national interdiction unit. they're doing real seizures. but this is the context of something that is really phantom leap till when he has to go out and improved security environment that we don't have right now. >> was as part of any of the negotiation with the taliban this is their main source of revenue what are we going to do about that in the first year we just going to turn a blind eye to it. >> i can't speak to what has been said in the course of the negotiation for the televisions have been very public about staying and pointing to the past record of having eliminated opium production. >> we know that's not true though. >> for complex reasons and immediately ready for their downfall, they did issue against opium production that effectively reduced opium production in the areas they controlled. we would welcome the taliban issuing this today that opium production. >> i'm sure they would.
>> so this is all very cynical but i don't want to suggest that it's only a taliban problem. drug money in afghanistan is everywhere. it permits everywhere is criminalized the broader economy and it is the distorting factor in afghanistan ability to develop as a self-sustaining nation. >> you want to speak to that from your.of view ? >> for a development.of view, one of the alternatives is to look at creating a reflection. what the idea thought to do was to create improved markets and access and look at value chains try to extend from out into the rural areas and ability to produce legitimate crops and get this market in a timely fashion.
civic has not been successful mark. >> yes. >> both of it's drawing away from the opium trade that i cannot tell you. in terms of improving livelihoods and improving people his incomes yes. >> thank you. mr. luke. >> nicu. thank you. none of my questions are in any way to criticize your dedicated and lengthy service. we have had bipartisan failure in afghanistan for over 18 years across the administration and the trump administration is continuing that failure. i understand you know simply up to executing orders of the present but i do want to get some facts out here to the american people. ms. miss wells, personally how many was servicemembers and civilians have died in afghan war? >> about 2400.
>> with civilians over 4000 is that correct. >> i actually don't have that specific number. >> by how many us service members have been wounded in afghan war. >> 26000 sir. >> correct. over 20000 at least. how many us troops are currently in afghanistan. >> around 14000. see it in 2016, before donald trump took office how many troops were there. >> 8400. >> so on a campaign, of getting the us out of endless wars of getting us out of wars in the middle east, when he has failed to deliver on the promise. in fact when he has increased troops in afghanistan by proximally 70 percent. due to the cost is how much the us is spinning in afghanistan ms. wells ? >> i don't have an exact figure.
we talk about 30 billion a year. total in afghan. >> also according to washington post it's been over $1 trillion. the washington post staying trump afghanistan troop increase as to 1 trillion in war costs. and we have very little to show for this. we are still in a stalemate and there is no indication if we stay another 18 years they will go into achieve any sort of victory. in fact, what ends up happening is because we keep killing civilians, and other folks in afghanistan, it makes terrorist recruiting that much easier so i want to thanks you about an article that came out today. it is documenting that yesterday a us drone strike in afghanistan killed at least 30 civilian farmers. are you aware of that drone strike ? >> i seen press reports in a
cabinet sand strikes may have produced civilian casualties. less than being investigated and looked into. it is true, it would be very tragic, i would note that again the civilian attacks or civilian casualties are made her happen recently because of the fact that ices and telamon immerse themselves in the civilian population don't distinguish how they dress in themselves directly target civilians. >> think of that. we do have complete superiority in afghanistan correct ? >> yes. >> and our growth can linger over a target for a certain amount of time correct. >> so i don't know both of the report you know mentioning is the drone attack the reports i've seen are suggested this was something that and i don't know the details of the incidents i don't want to comment on it. >> when i served on active duty, military one of the things i did is, in brief commanders on
conflict as you know and intentionally targeting civilians is the war crime. it is absolutely war crime. if it is the disproportionate of force, you were to think that there may be one or two terrorists there, and you are going to end up killing 30 civilians, you can't watch it strike either. so i look forward to a ministration providing us information as to if in fact the strike killed at least 30 civilians with that purpose of that strike was. how does this happen when we have complete air superiority and their assets can linger over targets for a fair amount of time. in all of this, does bring me to how do we now conclude our failure in afghanistan so what is the next meeting that the administration is going to have. with the taliban, has not been scheduled ? >> know, the talks are caused at this stage. so not only we have now have
over 4000 us service members. your estimate try 6000 servicemembers wanted over $1 trillion spent on this war in afghanistan, we are in a stalemate administration has now zero strategy and zero scheduled talks and no ability to get us out of this quagmire. it is time to bring our troops home. i yelled back. >> thank you mr. luke. >> i have questions for each of you. i only have five minutes as you know so i'm going to be a little quick. i asked to be circumspect in your answers. mistreatment, to start. the united states has invested in in awareness about human live money and time into the conflict and attempted peace building process and afghanistan as we
all know. since 2002, congress has appropriated more than $132 billion in aid for afghanistan. more than 2000 us troops have lost their lives in afghanistan. currently we have 14000 troops there. my question to you is this, how is the trump administration working to ensure that the investment for the us has made in afghanistan, like building hospitals and schools and supporting ngos, advancing women's rights it's not lost if we withdraw from the country. and i asked that in the context of this. particularly because the trump administration has not included the afghan government and peace in negotiation. how are we making sure that the progress we made in afghanistan will be maintained long-term. >> thank you. i think that the answer to your
question is that the ramming of sustainability working on systems which i was trying to highlight and might and testimony. it's not a matter of just the number of students that are trying the infrastructure that is built. that infrastructure may be physical or it may be fixed additional. i think we have a great deal of success to be shown in terms of strengthening internal systems to advance afghanistan his own ownership of this development. the other area that i would.to in terms of sustainability is the development of stronger voices in afghanistan. to sustain themselves going forward. the voices of women in the voices of the private sector and educators. that will carry forward through
time in terms of their expectations. >> thank you. i'm deeply concerned and i appreciate your response. i think it's a good one but i hope we don't negate the progress that we've helped build in that country in the fact sacrifices particularly that our troops have made. a falling out with a plan in place to create and sustain lasting peace. i'd like to turn to ambassador wells and my question to you is this we know that in july of 2018 in an unprecedented move the trump administration entered into direct high-level negotiations. with the taliban and that went out afghan government representatives. in doing so, the administration long-standing us position that any peace process would have to be afghan owned and afghan led the slaves back to the question of mistreatment, the cost of the
year the restoration held almost continuous meetings with taliban representatives. i'm not going to go through what happened on september 11th because all my colleagues have and we all know that we know also that the four decades the taliban has had violence against women and egregiously violated women's rights. afghanistan his right to the worst place in the world to be a woman. 87 percent of their women are illiterate, a sunny 82 percent of them are enforced marriages and 90 percent have experienced domestic abuse. our president loves to refer to himself as a great negotiator and a great dealmaker but we haven't seen any successful diesel behave of the american people yet. i'm wondering my question to you is this. when the trump administration engages in high loophole talks, for almost a year for the television and that went out the afghan government how do we
expect these negotiations to ultimately be successful in bringing long-term peace. >> i think it's a mischaracterization. where in constant contact and constant engagement with the government of afghanistan. we are working in parallel tracks as we discussed issues with the taliban. we were discussing the same issues with the afghan government and coming up with an agreed-upon approach. on this political framework. ambassador passes there every day in general miller is there everyday and ambassador have spent more weeks in afghanistan over the last eight or nine months. we are very committed. because of the outcome of this initial set of conversations was to get to and enter afghan dialogue. the negotiation was to get them to sit down at the table. they refused to do this over the last 18 years. we started to see the breakdown with the enter afghan discussion that took place on july. so this was not about ignoring
the government of afghanistan and freezing us out of negotiations to the contrary it was creating the preconditions that would allow afghans to finally sit down and began to find the appropriate compromises to move forward to a unified government and peace. >> my time is up. i just reiterate i hope we do not lose the progress that has been made by excluding important parties. >> thank you. thank you for allowing me to speak. given the pakistani interservice intelligence has long given support to the tele- man. is there a rule that pakistan must play in the negotiations with the tele- man and if so, when the primary step can't have trouble getting the pakistani military to help. >> packs and does have very important role. they ensure that the
negotiations will take place in our successful. we see constructive support by pakistan. in helping to ensure that there was an authoritative negotiating team pakistan released from prison, where they were holding him. when he then took over leadership of the taliban negotiating group. we've been working closely with pakistan ambassador julio, consultations and very much included and are based on the expectations that pakistan will provide the support. prime minister publicly has been forward leaning in his support for peace in afghanistan and we appreciate steps that when he has taken. members of the government have taken to try to improve relations with afghanistan. because the improve relations are also going to be a critical to sustainable fees. this is an area where we will continue to have expectations and thanks. >> thank you in the '90s, the
taliban i believe they said bin laden and al qaeda were not a threat to the us. how can we trust them now when they say they will not allow foreign terrorist organizations on afghan soil. >> there is no intention to trust. i think any peace agreement or negotiations with the taliban will be condition based in the united states will have to have confidence security will not be imperiled. to exit out again about trust. what was the wording. >> the agreement can't be based on trust, it has to be based on the conditions based where we have confidence through verification through means that our security it's not being meet will on peace agreement. >> says not really trust but verify his. not really trust but it is verified. [laughter] yes ma'am thank you. >> given all of the uncertainty
with the taliban negotiations, the afghanistan presidential election still be held or postponed. >> yet elections are proceeding on september 28, we have long argued that the government of afghanistan and the electoral bodies need to have everything possible to do make sure they are transparent and to the afghan people the united states have provided support for the election through funding of the un. we've also provided technical assistance to the usaid in developing protocols. i think to a certain step have been taken that could improve some of the technical aspects of the elections this time around. including boating and pole center registration lists which will make it less possible for industrial rod. but at the same time, you have your stations that will be opening.
certainly the afghanistan electoral institutions are going to have to be able to respond to afghans concerns of the misuse of government resources and other efforts to influence elections. >> what are some ways to incentivize the direct afghan red sox. >> i think both sides have an interest in peace. what's remarkable is despite the incredible violence and just indiscriminate violence against civilians that is been inflicted by the telephone, the afghan people remain committed to trying to find a way forward. to remain committed to a piece negotiation. because as long as afghanistan is wracked by violence you can't achieve security to create a normal state that self-sustaining. the tele- man their interest as i said before, i think are
motivated by the desire to be seen as legitimate. to be able to engage in a way that they have not with the international community to participate in a functioning government. and in a that is economically more prosperous. >> thank you. thank you. ambassador wells, i'd like to start with a question for you. as for 18 years of us military involvement in afghanistan, the country stands in a bloodied stalemate. thousands of american service members have lost their lives, talks with the taliban is looking down, the american public is more weary. s reconciliation d. and exams, i am particularly concerned that afghanistan will again be used by international terrorist group such as al qaeda. to launch and plan attacks to the united states or our allies.
as you've already discussed, is the previous rounds of talks had continued as planned, the taliban was going to agree to preventing terrorist groups from using afghanistan to plan and launch attacks. it's not clear that the taliban would follow through, or even have the ability to rein in the numerous terrorist organizations. they have made and failed to keep similar pledges before. and so my is what you see as a real mistake path forward to ensuring afghanistan it's not right for terrorist groups to plan and launch cross-border terrorist attacks. how can we proceed with enforcing any agreement related to that dive boat promise. >> i would say i think it is the pit of mischaracterization but it's only been but when he still might. we have a situation now with the afghanistan his are doing, the women majority of the fighting. situation where the taliban control presidential capitals. they're not in control of the
country or in control of the people. we have a situation where we have succeeded in assuring that afghanistan it's not being used as a platform against us. so the baseline goal and reason why we wouldn't to afghanistan, i think we've upheld. americans security is going to be the foremost objective and in piece negotiation that we support. the president still thinks of that, that the secretaries spoke and demanded and why any peace agreement needs to be condition based i can't give specifics now and i would leave it to further with things at a if and when piece negotiation resumes. but i think the afghan people in the taliban, and we agree that this it's not a conflict. it is going to be military only one. the question is how we get to back to a sustainable peace process is on an active by the
administration. >> how much you think the fact that afghanistan hasn't been used as a platform to launch additional tax against us or us interest, outside of afghanistan, how much you think that is the result of the presence of our forces. my question being specifically if we were to move to removing us forces, how does that significantly change the dynamics that has allowed us to achieve some of the stability that you does best. >> in the context of an active war against the taliban, the presence of american international forces has been critical. >> so then in thinking through the dive boat agreement that we could make with the taliban, and looking at what sort of enforcement would be possible, what do you see as potential levers for negotiation or
potential successes for the dive boat enforcement that would allow us to ensure that afghanistan cannot evolve into replace where terrorist networks are able to find safety again and potentially brought against the united states. >> i think it has been said publicly and in conditions based agreement. with the telephone wants is movable of horses and to be able to achieve the in order to do this it would have to be confidence on our part that the undertaking would be upheld by the taliban and its members. i can't hypothesize about what may or may not come out of the future agreement and the specific measures will be included by guest go back to the basic.where the united states is most capable and powerful military in the world. we are committed to protecting our citizens interest. we are not that went out options. >> the challenges i see though
are related to that condition -based discussions are if the taliban wanted the us to depart from afghanistan then what is the next step that we take when in fact they are not complying with negotiated terms. as you see at what would it be art responsibly have in fact removed forces. where do we go from there? >> i can't hypothesize about that scenario. >> thank you for your time. mr. chairman, i yelled back. >> thank you. according to the united states mission in afghanistan, there are more civilian casualties in 2018, then in any other year since they began counting. it was also reported for the first time since the united nations began documenting civilian casualties in afghanistan, more civilians were
killed by afghan government and american forces then by the taliban and others resurgence. i don't think there can be a clear sign that the us military intervention has failed to secure the afghan people. and bassett are wells, good to see you again and i want to thanks you why should we expect that doing more of the same thing that we've done for the last 18 years will lead to a different and better outcome. >> first i want to say that the us military does everything possible to avoid civilian casualties nobody is more meticulous in his planning and and as thoughtful in its efforts and i contrast that to the enemy that we face the deliberately target civilians and we see that over this bloodied last week of targeting hospitals and workers and it's horrifying.
>> from 2018? >> i think i mentioned earlier we do question the methodology. i think this is an aberration and the expect approach of the forces couldn't be more different so i am very i think we can have confidence and respect for the us military suffers to reduce civilian casualties and the forces. this it's not a static situation. there has been significant change over the last 18 years and one of the significant changes is that the afghan forces who are doing the fighting and dying and we still suffer tragic losses but the numbers are no resemblance to the beginning of the conflict in the height of this conflict. as time goes by what we have seen we are more capable and educated afghanistan citizens and forces in higher live
expectancy more sophisticated his population. those are trendlines that absolutely work in our favor. they speak very highly of our own valued approach to supporting afghanistan. >> i want to hear more about the malicious forces. they were reported in december than i would like to poke him. the cia funded malicious of operated unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians. conducting night raids and torture and killings with near impunity in a covert campaign is some afghan american officials say is undermining the american effort to strengthen afghan and institutions. in july and master said the malicious would be addressed in the peace deal. so master wells, i'm going to
thanks you to the proposed us troop withdrawal from afghanistan include withdrawing us support for nonstate malicious fund by the cia? >> i can't speak to that sir. >> sigh. an interview with the bbc, this week the taliban chief negotiator said that the next station was quote, the only way for peace in afghanistan from our side the doors are open for negotiations and we hope the other side also rethinks their decision regarding negotiation. for not talking about these things, do you think we can achieve the sustainable soluti solution. >> there's an agreement that there is a military solution, there is an agreement that there needs to be a political negotiated solution but there are also asked to be confidence that the taliban after the nine rounds of negotiations are acting in good faith so has been said publicly by the president and the secretary and currently the talks are suspended.
the administration is reviewing options for moving ahead. >> and so just as a final question, it's sometimes hard to explain to my constituents what's going on in this complicated situation. how would you suggest that i explain to them why the president suspended negotiations at this. >> we saw behavior that was inconsistent with the substance and conduct of the negotiations that have taken place over the last nine rounds and it was that inconsistent behavior that led to the decision. we would like to see the telephone take actions that would make it possible to return to negotiations. >> i yelled back mr. chairman.
>> i want to thank you both first and ending up in being here. who's been talking to the taliban for the last year, and how refusing to speak to the united states congress. i do not believe that a classified briefing needs his responsibility to a swing to the people what we are doing here. with that, let me thanks you a few questions. the taliban operates at both in afghanistan and pakistan, is that correct question and more. >> taliban has sanctuary in pakistan. >> get there is nothing in the draft agreement that commits the taliban to break with al qaeda or any other terrorist groups that it may be cooperating with and pakistan or in fact any of the 20 or so other fto his beyond al qaeda and ices such as taiga the high connie network
that operate in both. is that correct? >> i can't speak to the details of the text. all i can note is that it is condition -based with a permanence giving any ties to terrorist organizations. >> the only ones have been mature the soup and everything you have said, suggests that their responsibility ends on afghanistan soil. so intact this doesn't really force the taliban to break with terrorists. there is no cease-fire contemplated and no nationwide cease-fire contemplated by the agreement so apart from a few named places, on what was contemplated at the taliban would be able to continue to terrorize the afghan people. and yet, as i understand it, we may go where this process to continue, we could go below 8600 trips, we could go all the way to zero troops. in afghanistan. even if there is no final enter
afghan agreement so long as we have confidence there are security it's not impaired. is that a fair assessment question and more. >> again i can't speak to the details of the agreement that was being discussed with a political framework that was being discussed. all i can address or the principles the foremost principle is the american security. but that has to be also with a sustainable and looking forward solution sustainable peace in afghanistan. >> those are two very different things. if the condition is american security is narrowly defined by do not cooperate with ices or al qaeda, with that suggest is that what happens to the afghan people, in the scenario is in material as long as we have that minimal commitment from the taliban we can go to zero. that puts us in a position we can even monitor dirt our own force. you said we have been cut in constant contact with the afghan government. i'm sure that's true, i know
that's true but any of us who have spoken to the afghan government know that they do not agree with the basic framework of this agreement for pro- sisley that reason. it leaves them to the mercy of the taliban. so long as we are short that they are not going to be cooperating with two of the 20 or more terrorist organizations that have a safe haven. in afghanistan. my understanding is that we are not wheeling to say. you are not wheeling to say to the taliban right here right now. that we will not go to zero if there is no enter afghan agreement. you cannot say that categorically question my. >> i am not here to comment on the specifics of negotiation as i was not part of. all i can discuss are the principles and again the principles are not, i think you are mischaracterizing the approach of the ministration to what we want to achieve. >> this is what i've heard from the administration. and again if you are not able to speak to the agreement than that is exactly why it when he should
be sitting in that chair right now after one year of talking to terrorists, you should be wheeling to talk to the united states congress. look all asking for here is honesty. there are different views about both of we should stay or go. both sides of the op. but we are being sold here it's not a potential peace agreement. what we are being sold here is the bedtime story. to make us feel better about leaving afghanistan. we are talking about this as if it's supposed to bring peace when in fact we know that the taliban intends on continuing to fight because their aim it's not legitimacy, their aim is power in afghanistan with jr but not wheeling to share with the afghan government as they have told us many times. we are being told that this is about bringing our troops home. when in fact those troops are not coming home, they will go to the gulf and they will go to bases potentially in central asia so that weekend maintain a full presence in the region to continue to strike terrorists in afghanistan. we will continue drone strikes. from a further distance which
means there will be more civilian casualties and if we contact counterterrorism rates if we do it from a further distance, it will be more dangerous to our troops. so i'm asking for honesty, if we are going to leave, let us simply say we do not have an interest in investing in afghanistan anymore and were going to leave them to the tender mercies of the taliban. if we believe this out right then let say to the american people that we have a long-term commitment here like we have in south korea for many in other places. pick one. and let's stop telling bedtime stories about what this is going to bring. >> i'm delighted there was an opportunity for the community to be be draft. but this it's not an negotiation of the withdrawal, it's a peace agreement. i think what we are losing sight of is an overwhelming majority afghan to very much want to see american involved in supporting a peace process. afghans do not want to fight to go out to afghans and they seek peace of this administration has
been, creatively working towards that goal. >> they've had no say in this process. you know perfectly well that they are terrified. the vast majority of afghanistan his of where this is going. >> this is the only process this is producing a direct conversation. >> i yelled. >> mr. phillips. >> thank you mr. chairman. want to start by echoing my colleague. in appearance by mr. elizabeth, terribly disappointing. i hope it is something we can quickly rectify. former diplomat and senior fellow endowment for international peace, recently sent on it any attempt and reconciliation three negotiating bargain of obligations as
opposed to the part of why it's and progressive defection of insurgents, we failed to deliver stability at the us seeks. do you agree with that statement. i asked that the both of you. >> the administration is exploring or has been exploring both of or not you can create a political framework that produces the dialogue that gives confidence in american security will be met. i obviously would not preemptively agree with telus. >> why would we choose to enter into negotiations with little progress on the battlefield. is that something, it's not a question we should be asking question and more. >> this it's not a conflict that's going to be salt on the battlefield and you've seen over the last ten years a number of troops and soldiers go up and go down. what hasn't been able to go
forward as the conversations that need to take place between the parties. the government stakeholders throughout, society which is the very complex forum in the taliban read the assessment is the taliban are different than ices and that this has been a question nationalist insurgencies whose obviously their taxes have become increasingly concerning over the last several years but when they committed to afghanistan and are prepared to engage in negotiations, that needs to be tested and so with the work that has been done, has been done to create the conditions where afghans can actually for the first time sit down and began to have those conversations. >> can you think of a time when we have been successful in applying this kind of strategy. >> i think every war is unique. but certainly they are role is critical and essential in driving any process forward and so i would focus on the fact
is what allows us to and what has allowed us to organize very dynamic, productive international gatherings and diplomatic architectures in support of the peace process. >> sai >> so they are considered to be part of the solution. >> important countries don't support peace it will be hard to achieve a peace agreement. >> that's different than being part of a solution. >> we have been working with them as we do believe that their support will be helpful in advancing a peace agreement. >> i will yield back my time. >> was my friend yielded 20? ambassador, this has the resonance of the negotiation between henry kissinger and
pledges were made promptly ignored and we turned a blind eye towards making it look like what was indicated can you assure us that isn't what we are looking at and this is what is different? >> seeking the peace negotiated settlement is not seekin he is a withdrawal agreement. >> i'm sure every american can take that to the bank and feel confident.
just briefly we have discussed the role of women and negotiations in the government. we know that the afghan government to my knowledge is trying to include the information that is related to them. you know women as part of that agreement but what do you envision going forward, even in the negotiations such as pr, not directly, but also going forward should we move forward with this agreement and really try to put something in the agreement that guarantees the women in society that have been there since our involvement in afghanistan and also considering the view that
had taliban has. >> what we hear from the afghan government and the non- taliban members of afghanistan's society is the commitment to last 18 years and the importance they attach to the rights including the rights of women and girls and that is backed up by polling which shows every year in increasing number of afghans to support education and women's participation in the workforce, who support women's voting on a third of all candidates in parliamentary elections so they can influence the society. they will have to preserve the gains in a dialogue and a negotiation in other sessions it
well and enjoy the support for the member of the international community. it will have to uphold the fundamental rights and that is the power that we have is you are not going to get assistance or the direct investment or the respect of the international community if you seek to put women back in the home and out of schools. >> i have sponsored the legislation that will hopefully be coming forward to say that if there is other texas resources going forward, that the u.s. is going to supply to the government. do those guarantees remain in place, is that something you would read with? >> all of our programs have women's participation and support for women's rights in
afghanistan and it's an operating principle i think that caring can speak to. >> i've been waiting for that moment for a long time. in every single program that we have, there is a requirement for the inclusion of women in those programs. in particular, and with respect to the question at hand, we have been actively working with civil society and women's business chambers etc. to help them improve their negotiating skills and hone in on their messages and expectations to be realistic and pragmatic about the way forward and to ensure when and if they do have the place at that meeting that they will be ready for it. the kennedy moving forward will be able to go with that and put additional safeguards to protect
the committee will reconvene. i'd like to introduce the second panel and thank them for this morning. after a very extensive first panel hearing. ambassador cunningham is a senior fellow at the council south asian center and abidjan faculty member at the maxwell school. he served at the state department for decades in a wide range of roles. the distinguished career of his time as ambassador to afghanistan from 2012 to 2014. as a member of the council on foreign relations of the society
and the american academy of diplomacy with the research analysis dealing with that region in the 2,013th@17 she's a deputy and acting. she also served on the staff of the national security council. thomas is a senior fellow at the foundation for the defense of democracy. for the counterterrorism division he's issued the related counterterrorism. i'd like to welcome and i would
now allow the witnesses to testify for five minutes each. while the specifics of the special representativ representr afghanistan reconciliation remain unknown, it is a parent element for the serious concern about the failure and suffocation. president trump has called a halt to the discussions with the telegram to the opportunity exists since the administration will take it to seek a deal that will lead to a political agreement ending the conflict and the gold which the president said two years ago. the deal on the withdrawal of performances is one not grounded in the contest of an actual peace agreement with the collapse of afghanistan as a chaos of president extremist taliban emirate and the growth of the islamist terrorist threat
to the western security and values. the american afghan peoples in the international part is in afghanistan deserve better. onconce i'd negotiating againste deadline. it would be the ticket for the leadership and values and sacrifice for the u.s. and afghan interests in stability and security in the troubled region. certainly a discussion with the taliban about ending the conflict is to be welcomed. but hope for afghan dialogue ise is not a strategy and there is little to suggest. the token representatives have told afghans that the united states is defeated and while they suggest they would be less severe and barbaric there is
little doubt but that would mean more for the risks that outcome would oppose. the negotiation should be resumed as soon as possible, but on a different basis geared to ending the conflict. the deal will involve the afghan government. it will as a first step into the violence by making the discussion of the withdrawal contingent upon the cease-fire which ends the killing of afghans. while forces can be reduced based on conditions of the cease-fire takes hold it is for the ultimate withdrawal of the forces and that negotiation must take into account the reality is demonstrated by the bombing of the kabul that future afghan government will likely require international assistance in combating terrorism. they will also without a doubt require significant international support for the
peace agreement. the new tablet and emirate will be deserving of neither. there's been much discussion in the past weeks about the u.s. engagement and calls for withdrawal often without addressing the consequences. peace negotiations on the terms that we and our international partners would seek would be difficult or impossible to create. we have not adequately tested the proposition which requires the complex diplomatic and military effort in continued support for the forces. we have long recognized the solution is not in the offering but a peace process does require an adequate military instrument in support of a multilateral, multifaceted high level campaign that sets up the conditions for the negotiations. the irony of where we are today and is the salvation of strategy announced two years ago corrected the shortcomings which
can detect the efforts to establish a peace process. knowing president obama had a timeline for bringing the troops home, the taliban had no incentive to negotiate. in 2017, president trump agreed to restore and strengthen the train and assist counterterrorism missions and focus on creating conditions for that negotiation. a good institution and its protections of human rights, women and the free media. it appears to be coming apart.
the reestablishment of the unrealistic deadlines will begin to undercut the afghan security forces and deadlines and the ever-present threat of withdrawal and encouraged the taliban intransigence, speculation of the interim government which would hopefully now move risk the demise of the most democracy in afghanistan. afghanistan is neither a failed state nor to be dismissed as a forever war. afghanistan is a struggling democratic islamic partner in the generational conflict between extreme islamic ideology and terrorism and th of the civilized world in which most people including muslim aspire to. our efforts in afghanistan have had several distinct phases and mistake has been made. yielding rather than correcting the strategy would be the greatest mistake of all. the cost of the engagement in afghanistan are much lower than in the past and can be lower yet
and are unsustainable. in the cold war the staying power will be required to end the conflict with the islamist extremism and which afghanistan is a chapter. we can certainly be smarter and more effective but as with iraq the cost of the withdrawal from afghanistan with the prospect of the peace unsecured will be much higher. and there's a price to be paid for leadership and the u.s. values. >> thank you, congressman for your endurance today and my thanks to the committee for inviting me to this important hearing. i've been asked to assist the efforts to secure a peace deal and i will summarize my written statement briefly reviewing the u.s. policy options in explaining why the negotiations president trump declared that last week should be revised.
a big u.s. has three basic options first the withdrawal option. the u.s. could plan and execute a pullout of all of the forces into the conflict would continue and it would probably intensified and become more chaotic. there is a strong chance that they would fracture. how quickly that woul that whatd to depend on whether the government in kabul can continue to receive the foreign funding on which it very heavily depend us. second stay the course option. the u.s. could keep the current and somewhat reduced number of troops to continue fighting the taliban alongside of the government and continue operations against the islamic state brancstate branch and occy other terrorist groups in afghanistan. the war currently the deadliest in the world would remain a the bloody stalemate this today and many officers have said it is.
one that has been eroding in the taliban and for several years. keeping u.s. troops in afghanistan would continue feeding the narrative of the occupation that they used to recruit. staying the course means perpetuating the conflict with no foreseeable end. third, the negotiation option. the u.s. could try to negotiate an end to the war into the u.s. military presence. american diplomats have engaged in about nine years to launch a peace process that only this here did they quit pursuing the deal at the center of policy. a third option is the only one with the potential to reduce violence in afghanistan and enable the troops to withdraw and permissive conditions. it's also the option with the best chance of preserving afghanistan social and development teams. to be clear none of these options has the potential to result in military victories for the u.s. and afghan allies.
neither of the first two options would enable the government to become self-sustaining in its fight against the taliban and at any foreseeable time and only the negotiation option aims for the production of islands. some have criticized the administration for negotiating exclusively in the telegram supposedly cutting out the afghan government. it's understandable this approach is deeply frustrating to many afghans, and frankly it is distasteful to many in washington. the u.s. decision to negotiate first with the taliban prior to the talks among afghans was a concession to the taliban insistence on a sequence. the u.s. for many years resisted the sequencing is the cost was no peace process. it's worth underscoring the u.s. already tried and failed to deliver the more desirable kind of peace process with the afghan government at the table fro of e outset it was an early cease-fire. no evidence suggested that the government on its own could
launch this peace talks certainly the u.s. hadn't stood in the way. but it's crucial to recognize what a deal i it would and would not be. would cover the limited set of issues and in the exchange for the telegram commitment to commo prevent afghanistan being a safe harbor for terrorist groups. the deal would be a peace agreement. there is no deal between the u.s. and telegram that could bring peace or address governance, women's rights and other issues. it would be the first step towards peacemaking and it would commission a gradual u.s. withdrawal which the telegram want on the negotiations with the afghan government and other power brokers. the reward is clear that they would open the door to the afghan peace process. the gap between divisions might prove too great. internal divisions on each might prove difficult to overcome. if negotiations fail the u.s. will still be in a position to
choose either of the first to policy options i described earlier. after nearly 18 years of prioritized in military action and failing to defeat them, the u.s. has spent only one year of putting peace efforts at the forefront and in the time it appears to have come close to a deal that would lead to an afghan peace process and allow for the withdrawal of u.s. troops. the u.s. should not abandon this effort now. >> thank you for having me to testify here today. i am going to go through this very quickly. i agree one of the critiques of the process went through and the talks basically excluded the afghan government. you can see in my written testimony on arched off -- march 12 the ambassador said once the deal is finalized.
the words been no sense to me and i want to talk about where they shouldn't be trusted when it comes to counterintelligence and there are an earlier panel on the regard and i equally in the worst of skepticism and i want to run through five key issues in that regard very quickly. first, they haven't come clean about its past at any point in time. in july they released a video in which they said 9/11 was a heavy slap on the face of interventionist policies in other words they were justifying 9/11, they didn't blame al qaeda, did announce the decision, they said it was the result of our policies which is a talking point they've had since 2001. in addition in august, it was anticipated in the talks
achieved within negotiator said he didn't know who did 9/11 and if we have evidence of this maybe we can bring it forward and to prosecute. we know who did 9/11 and you can see in my testimony of them excerpts showing the complicity and safe haven for al qaeda and how crucial that was in the run-up to 9/11. there is reports and citations to this in that regard so we don't need them to tell us we don't know who did it. but the key point is that they are not going to come clean about the past why are you willing to believe what they are going to say about the future or that their assurances going forward are really for. the second point, july, 2016 the ambassador testified before the committee and during that hearing he actually highlighted the fact that the head of al qaeda have sworn his personal allegiance to basically the supreme leader for the time of
income and the ambassador said that shows the relationship continues. we agree. i recorded about a week or two earlier and as far as i can tell, there's no evidence that to date he's going to renounce the oath of allegiance or al qaeda and as part of any talks you heard a lot in the first panel how the assurance of the e television about breaking with al qaeda, here's a very concrete example of what they could do in that regard and so d do in that regard if we are going to start to believe them which is that third point, number two we've tracked him for a long time and it took a number of years to get the network designated as an organization by the government. the network was designated in part because the network remained closely aligned with al qaeda throughout history going back to the 1980s to this day. not only the number two but also oversees the machine across
afghanistan. there's a lot of evidence of my testimony about how. i see no evidence that they were going to break with al qaeda. number four as it is highlighted in my testimony as well in 2014 there's plenty of evidence throughout the country they serve as religious and military instructors and remain embedded in the town of them and special inspector general submitted to congress earlier this year the fact that there are many members that are dual members that is how integrated they are so a lot of times you can't even tell who is. in terms of counterterrorism assurances, there is a sort of constellation of groups fighting
under their banner in afghanistan. i see no reason to believe the taliban agreed to restring them in any meaningful way. we are talking about the union and the party that fights in afghanistan and the reports i cite in my testimony or document the presence and i find it hard to believe that they would restrain all of them. thank you. >> thank you. mr. phillips. thank you, mr. chairman and to the witnesses. i will start with you and clearly from your testimony, you have little faith or confidence in the top of an being trustworthy for good reasons for what should we do in light of the fact that they are not, in your estimation will be in our best interest? >> i have no problem trying to bolster a process that includes the afghan government in the
talks and insisting that from the go. my main problem is i think there was a lot of credulity when it came to the telegrams were uncomfortable counterterrorism. you heard the ambassador talked about how some members of the government were able to take part in talks. thousand of personal capacity not as the internationally legitimate u.s. government so if you're going to go down that path, that's fine but if you are insisting that they are part of a legitimate peace process. >> i know you've been involved in peace negotiations in bosnia, kosovo, but in general terms, what does a good piece negotiation look like and what does a good agreement for quite? >> it would have been my preference and recommendations of the peace process should have included the afghan government, the u.s. and the taliban at the table simultaneously from the start. however, that was the format that the united states tried to
pursue. i was involved in efforts to try to get the peace process started that way but it didn't work. the taliban refused and it's a sad fact that they have leverage in this occasion. in my state they said it was a concession but completely necessary to split the peace talks onto two separate tracks, u.s. television followed by the inter- afghan track as it is now called. in terms of what the peace agreement could actually look like, the preliminary agreement between the u.s. and the taliban and is only setting the stage for a potential peace agreement and peace process and actual peace agreement among the afghan party is going to have to address a wide range of issues including political arrangements for afghanistan, security
arrangements for afghanistan, implementation measures, verification measures and so it will be complex and it will take time to negotiate that and frankly, the u.s. television agreement is only useful insofar as you get to that second stage. it doesn't as i said bring peace to afghanistan, nor is it necessary to negotiate with the taliban and in terms of its draw. if all the u.s. on student was withdrawn, it doesn't need to negotiate that with anyone and i would agree counterterrorism assurances in that context are meaningless. those only become meaningful if you have a second stage of the peace process and you are able to form a consultative afghan government that brings the tablet and into the political. i would add to that we have to be a little cautious in painting an agreement with the negative
characterizations on the whole but i think that we need to be careful not to paint this out in black-and-white terms. there are plenty of non- tablet and afghans including those that are closely aligned and have very conservative viewpoints on social issues and frankly who have a past history of involvement with al qaeda. it is a very complicated picture that isn't just a black-and-white situation. i hope i answered the question. >> in the past negotiation are there any that are analogous to this current environment in afghanistan that you can point to? >> i would say in general terms, yes but i don't think that there is a clear and obvious template for this and i've loved that and
i've done research on the competitive analysis of the peace agreement and peace processes around the world compared to the situation in afghanistan and there is no one the situation you can point to. one of the factors that makes it much more difficult than in other circumstances is that it is a stalemate. this is in colombia wher isn't e government was overwhelmingly more powerful than. this isn't a situation like bosnia where the outside powers that were backing the inside covers had a say and decided they were going to go with our peace process and nato was able to apply in overwhelming force to the situation. this is more complicated because it is a stalemate and neither side has truly come to terms
with their own ability to succeed or fail militarily. >> i'm out of time but i know that there isn't a lot of a line behind me so maybe i will have another chance. thank you. >> president trump -- it shows remarkable agility in being able to change the position rapidly. i think that there are a lot of opportunities here to resuscitate the peace process. it may take a little time and some space-saving in order to do
it. >> if you were members of congress can answer the question because i know that it's a problem. that is the status. let's assume we go forward whether they are suspended, whether we begin anew at some time. ambassador, i thought you brought up a very important point for it. if that is going to happen and whatever term you want to use, liza disappears and the importance of the negotiations going on and being able to maintain a cease-fire is critical.
it's important to get to a cease-fire as quickly as possible particularly given the ongoing campaign. this is obviously a leverage to enhance the position. but as we go about resetting this, i would hope that there would be a serious effort to draw the line between the negotiation of peace and i think exists. the agreement needs to be adjusted but the goal needs to be kept in mind it's kind of the
key to getting into the peace negotiation. you mentioned pakistan, and it seems like these factors may not be front and center in some of these negotiations and without that kind of discussion, how inhibited is the ability to foresee? >> i think that our abilities greatly inhibited. i would suggest you look at the ambassador's personal account and you will see very forthright in harboring and sponsoring those that were directing the attack in afghanistan and that is an issue i do not think is
going to be solved. >> being able to negotiate the presence involved. that is a good point and i don't exclude it at the end of this process which will take a lot longer than anybody would want. i wouldn't exclude that there would be an agreement on the u.s. presence in afghanistan. to think even in the peace
agreement it's going to have the ability to deal with terrorism within afghanistan and the region. i would hope any further negotiations have tenacity of mr. phillips still here and wanted to allow him the last few minutes to ask more questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador coming you said that if there's going to be in negotiation and have a van and afghans that they would need a legitimate political authority to have that discussion. so, perhaps you could advise us to the status and what we and the united dates could do to strengthen and secure democratic elections. >> among other things that created a wide series of rumors
in afghanistan about what the american attitude was towards elections and whether they would be held or not, and that created a lot of uncertainty obviously. now it looks like they will be held to their schedule and apparatus in place. they will be flawed as i alluded to is that most unpleasant experience. they will be again, but i think that they will be successful in establishing and reestablishing the legitimate political authority. they like to vote even if it is dangerous for them to do so. they hope the results will be clear enough that it will not lead to a series of dispute as it did the last time around.
>> is there anything that we can and should be doing to provide political support in economic support for the negotiations themselves? messaging the political class that they have the responsibility not to allow this to degenerate into a political conflict as it did before in providing encouragement. tell us that the endowment for international peace said could be any attempt at reconciliation center on the exchange of obligations as opposed to the quiet and the progress of insurgents would fail to deliver stability that the usc. on the subject of the perfection your thoughts on the strategy that we should be considering to inspire that a section of the
insurgent there have been a number of strategies that have been implemented over the years aimed at trying to split the taliban and on the inspection. they are almost entirely failures and identix act there was any strategy that could succeed. there's a lot of talk about the tractortractors in the town of , thvan, thelack of cohesion withe tablet and. a blog that is frankly wishful thing came into propaganda. they were a monolithic organization but they have remained more unified and more cohesive than the other side have they are careful to protect their cohesion including through
harsh measures imposing ultimate sanctions on those that have sought to defect from the group because they've been cognizant of the fact that cohesion has been their competitive advantage, so there is no quiet detection strategy to resolve the conflict. >> i have a very grim view of the answer to the question. i have no reason to himself tha, then on the way to the counterterrorism issues.
i don't think there's a turnaround strategy at this point. we will work any time frame we want to see certainly. in the context of the political agreement that the established protections and rights and obligations. those things need to be built into a fabric that provides a solution that can be kind of left to drift along they would
obama said about desiring to get out of afghanistan. basically to point at my testimony is that if you are going to believe the monkey assurances to get five different things you have to look for in any terms of the agreement did not regard they believe in the e counterterrorism and i say okay show me the following. >> okay. thank you all for being here for the testimony. trish is it. i yield back. >> thank you for being here. it doesn't receive the greatest attention that it deserves. i echo the sentiments of some of my colleagues for us and the
american public is what goes on and we should do that for the families and friends of loved ones that lost their lives both in the military side and civilian side. and in this long, long war we should do that for the military and civilian families and loved ones that are currently there in that region. and as i conclude, i think of one story when i was there a few years ago visiting the troops and getting briefed i often ask our military if there's anything i can ever do what we can do for you, let us know. and on this occasion, they asked us and yes, there is. there is someone we would like you to meet and thank and they
took us to the marketplace and that there we met a civilian from afghanistan. i won't mention which province although i suspect he isn't alive at this point. but he had been risking his life providing information to our troops but where ied's birthplace and other acts undoubtedly he was saving lives, and they have asked us and myself to just go to this man and thank him and that it would mean a lot. when i had that opportunity, i asked him why he was risking his life doing that. and at that point, he pulled out his 8-year-old son and said because i would love for him to have a chance at life, but since he doesn't have under the current conditions, and i would hope that this intervention for action by america will give him that chance. i hope that we do the most in