tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN December 31, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
it's always the av. >> thank you very much for coming in and visiting with us tonight. >> thank you. >> my employment with microsoft has caused me to live in many different places around the country. and when i read your book it was very interesting to me to note that the places that i've enjoyed living are places that are very similar to my beliefs politically and the things that i like culturally. i guess that's why i'm kind of ambivalent about iowa. it's very plural ististic. but i like it a lot better than, say, the deep south, for example. as you've gone through and learned so much about this
subject, is that a common experience for people to have? >> yes. i hear that a lot in talks, but another, you know, interesting question that people should bring out whenever anyone comes forward and says, hey, you know, the early settlement, you know, patterns of the continent explain events that are happening now, a lot of people say, well, yeah, but people are moving around, right? we've had all the immigration in the 19th century and today we've got mass retailing, we've got the internet and mass certainly that must be, you know, making everyone more homogenous, right? it must be eroding the regional cultures that we have the motion and moving around and such. except it's not by any measurable fashion, you know, technique, the fissures are 9ñ and part of the reason is exactly what you explain. when people started looking at this question, one of them is a book that asked the question, well, i can't remember the exact
statistic, they had realized in the 1970s the number of< of the 3,000-odd counties in the u.s. that were landslide counties in elections where they always voted for the same party and that party won by 20 points or more, it was only, like, i don't know, 15% of all the counties were like that. the rest were kind of in the middle. but then fast-forward to the early 2000s and it had grown to, i don't know, 50 or 60%, how could that be? they started looking at what people were doing and they discovered that people statistically speaking when they elsewhere to the eck textent th they can control it they tend to choose to move to places where they're surrounded like minded people where they feel at home. sometimes they're doing that because they didn't feel quite as home in the place they started and choose to start going and sorting themselves, self-selecting, into communities where they feel like they're surrounded like-minded people,
right? because this map is -- we're talking about dominant cultures and every single of these counties you have the full spectrum of political beliefs and even in the bluest of blue you still have 20% or 30% of the electorate voting for the wrong side, right? there's all sorts of people everywhere. it's whether or not you feel the culture around you, yeah, i'm so glad i live here, everything feels right or whether you are completely frustrated by, you know, why is it that people think this way and act this way and there are all these unexamined asumses i can't stand. maybe it's a combination for most people of some of each of those things but then you get a chance to move and statistically people try to end up moving to places where they like where realized that migrants politically speaking tend to resemble their destination more than their point of origin. in other words, the people who move tend to be different than the people they left behind. so, the big sort is actually
part of the reason that those cultural differences are remaining resilient despite the challenges of mass media and people actually moving=1vly aro the map.=ay that's part of that answer. yes, sir? >> good evening. thank you so much for coming. i also enjoyed you on the podcast when you were on there. >> that was pirates, right? >> yeah. >> that was fun. >> in your book you mentioned what happened to kansas, in looking at the map i notice that kansas itself has almost three equal parts of greater appalachian, the midlands and the faf wer west. i want to pose the same question to you in the book what, in fact, happened to kansas to create, like, one of the few states that have three differences and three different regions going through? >> yeah, well, you know, i'm not an expert on kansas politics and certainly governor brownback's recent experiment has been rather controversial sort of, you know, statewide field
ideas about trickle-down economics will really work and it appears that maybe not. why would the experiment take place in kansas and what's going on there? i'm not sure. i would just be guessing. the midlands is a swing region and can, you know, shift around depending on changes in the climate around it. you've got a large but sparsely populated section and a greater appalachian that would pull you that way. it's an environment that an experiment like brownback's would happen there, why it happened there and now, that part i don't know enough about kansas to answer. i'm not shocked given the regional fissme"f there that that might happen there. i wish i had a better answer, but maine is so far from kansas. >> i understand. >> thank you. yes, please. >> hello.
being from iowa it's very interesting to look at this map. i feel sometimes we're kind of half greater appalachian and half yankeedom but i was curious how the counties are selected for this map. i notice the northern part of iowa in yankeedom and it's specific to the county so i wonder what statistics you were looking at. >> i had to use county units as a unit because it's the only substate unit that have continuity. counties are stable and statistics are/sé collected by county so it was the unit of analysis to use. in terms of deciding what county a given place was going to be in, the project is incredibly accurate, incredibly easy to do and as you're on the right side of the map and as you work left it gets harder and harder because the depth of history is shorter. the speed of settlement becomes and the populations are often
sparser. it's one thing when it took to get from one county to, you know, two or three counties out took a generation and then by the 19th century you could be jumping several states forward in just a few years. so, the challenge became greater. in somewhere like yankeedom it was made easier in that you could get individualized data and people have done it because yankees at a certain point in the 19th century once large external migration was happening, it became very important to some people to establish that they were there first and they go all the way long time ago and you have the daughters of the american revolution and the mayflower society and everyone was trying to establish that they and their families came back on the original boats. so, every single town in yankeedom, you know, in the latter part of the 19th century, some local, you know, luminary put together, you know, the history of my little tiny town in seven leatherback volumes, you know, detailing everything
and the economic history and the military history and so on. in the back third of the history would be a genealogy of every single person living in the town in 1883 or 1891 or whenever they put this book together, every single family living there then traced all the way back to the old world to establish where people have come from. and scholars have tapped on these because there's almost one for every single town and on an individualized level able to know who was founded and trace all that backward so that was made incredibly easy. however, when you start getting out closer and closer to the beginning of the far west which is roughly where the, you know, k]uñ cultures couldn't sustain themselves. they collapsed for lack of water basically. you finally get to a zone somewhere around the 100th where you need artificial large-scale irrigation so you can't function so the farmer model would fall
apart and you can't grow cotton there and everything sort of stopped. as you get closer and closer to that line, though, trying to tease out whether it's a midland county or a yankee county becomes trickier and trickier. there's often not that level of detailed genealogies and unlike that sort of, you know, yankee manifest destiny, you know, quest to send the yankee way across the continent, the midlands is inherently the characteristic is that there's no one ethnocultural group in charge that you can have multiple communities with their p& stuff maintaining it side by side, there's a danish village here and there's a german village here and a reformed dutch village growing tulips right there and they are all speaking their own language and publishing their own newspapers in the mid-1920s. if you did that in yankeedom, there would be someone scolding you and never leaving you alone. in the yankee dom it's a melting
pot, you can come here and work and become like us, there's an anglo protestant and american identity and you must come and assimilate into it. not so the midlands. but that makes it trickier to identify the midland county. what do you do? you work with every available item you have about where were the churches located at a key time in early settlement and sometimes there's markers like the congregational churches that show you where the yankeedom stuff was. sometimes there's particular elections. sometimes at a local level, sometimes federal, that was highly polarized by regional cu culture and that helps you tease out that portion of the map. the dialect maps past and present give you a tracer for the -- how people speak by a county level. in the material culture maps that i showed before do the same thing. you take all of these things and you overlay them and you go back and there may be some areas where you're really not sure in those areas i would go in and
try to read local history and figure out what was going on and do the best one can. culture is a messy business. it doesn't fall in straight lines but the map is pretty solid. it's very solid on the right and, you know, you have to kind of make some decisions and do the best you can as you get closer and closer to the 100th. places like the dakotas are the hardest ones to do. in terms of iowa, the reason is there's a yankeeivs material building culture that swipes through that more hilly section of northeast iowa and on all the dialect maps you get a bulge of the yankee northern speech that starts at dubuque and works north from there and you had the norwegians who are sort of coming from the lutheran, cal n calvinist ordered liberty and ordered freedom kind of approach to things had an overflow into the top counties from minnesota, so it was sort of that minnesota overflow and into that northeastern part of iowa which is why i catewpcntt it that way. i've been bouncing it off people
is it -- because there was that yankee effort you see in the congregational churches and in the early history of iowa there was an effort to make the new territory of iowa yankeedom and it didn't succeed and i took a conservative approach to parts where maybe it did dominate over the pluralistic culture but i would be curious what people from iowa and particularly the northern tier counties think of that if any of you afterwards there. it's always good to get crowd sourcing from individualized places.ed&? yes, please. sorry, i'm supposed to look at the mikes. >> my question is you mentioned that in the modern times people are becoming more ideologically condensed perhaps is the word and it's fighting off social media's homogenous effects. do you think this sort of condensing can cause things
like -- and recently in texas there have been more and more movements to perhaps separate texas from the rest of the union, kind of in an old civil war secession manner. >> right, governor perry was talking about seceding at some point, yeah. yeah, that plays in the zeitgeist, right? that you have a -- the more the country that ideology and partisan loyalty and regional sync up. but, of course, as you get frustrated, you're from this place and all of the opposition is from those people over there and they feel the same way. of course, you're going to get into the political atmosphere this geographic rather than just partisan differences which is going to lead you to at least mutter about maybe it would be better if we seceded and had our own place and didn't have to deal with you. hopefully that doesn't become realistic, because i do people
say, i looked at your map, wouldn't it be easier if we broke it up? then everyone would ber"úi hap. well, if you snap your fingers that it might be true in theory. but i don't know i have a more tragic sense of the human condition. i was a correspondent in eastern europe and the balkans with the collapse of communism and i don't have faith it would all happen peacefully if you started going down that road so i'm very much, you know, we have to work out a way to continue working together and not only because the american experiment has been so successful but, you know, the cliche that the world needs us and our leadership is, in fact, true, you know, the more time you spend out there in the wider world, there's nobody else to step in and so it's really important to everybody on the planet that we somehow succeed and can, you know, carry on. >> thank you. >> thank you.21;ñ >> yeah, i was just wondering why you left miami and south
florida out. >> yes, that's an excellent question. you probably can't even read it. it says part of the spanish caribbean. it's because at some point needed to decide i'll tell everything in american history and have it go back 400 years as a practical matter i needed to define it and, you know, put some limits on it and so my definition as to how far i would go so i didn't end up writing the tip of chile about the miners who had gone there and created an enclave on the edge of the southern ocean i needed to have a definition where i would stop so my definition was the cultural hearth so to speak the landing point that extended outwards has to be within the states and canada. that left out a few things hawaii which is in greater polynesia i would imagine, new collizcol
l and the southern part of florida. the reason is the book is a history. it's a 400 year history and it starts at the beginning with each founding culture and how it got started and a chapter on that one and you move forward to the next phase, so each one that's added i would have to be telling the history -- it's a great story of, like, the great celestial navigators in the pacific going between islands and setting up these, you know, cultures in hawaii and micronesia and elsewhere, but it doesn't intersect with most of the american story at a continental level. it doesn't even enter our sphere in the yankee missionaries go out there and it doesn't become a state until after pearl harbor. and newfoundland only lost by a little bit to be staying and becoming an independent country and many of them feel they should have. still to thisç63t day.
if you get on aw]s ferry to go there's the constitutionally ferry that must connect newfoundland with the rest of the country it goes there and back, and everyone says i'm going to canada. they still say that. and they're serious, right? and also south florida, because south florida, the unfortunate today's political environment because it's a swing state and that's the key to it but because this is a history florida, that did not matter in politics until just the past 30 years or 40 years or so, so it's a relatively new entrant and it was settled -- you know, the deep south definitely settled the northern part of florida although it was rather sparse on the ground. it did not form the founding, you know, settlement colonization culture of southernmost florida, it came from spain's regional data where
all of the caribbean zone and all of the treasure ships that were coming from the mountains of silver they were making the inca mine and the transshipments of all the stuff in asia that the spanish empire had got. together in the philippines and they crossed the entire pacific and they got to the pacific coast of mexico and they brought all these incredible treasures by pack mule over to veracruz and loaded them onto treasure ships and came to havana and work through the florida straits and this was a big deal culture. and i would have to tell that entire story to bring south florida into the equation so that's why it's not in there. it's not that it doesn't exist or as a newspaper columnist in miami said writer says south florida not part of the u.s. you know? oh, dear. did i say that? so, it's not what i'm saying. it's just not part of the regional cultures established
here. >> all right. >> thanks, everyone, for your questions. that will conclude the "q" and "a" session. >> thank you all very much for coming. >> and remember that there will be a reception and book signing following in the south ballroom shortly. tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span, congress year in review. we'll look back at the major events of 2015 in congress. debate on the iran nuclear agreement. the historic papal address to a joint meeting of congress. john boehner resigning as speaker of the house. and hillary clinton's testimony before the house benghazi committee. you said my insinuation, i'm not insinuating anything. i'm reading what you said. plain language.
we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film. that's as plain as it can get. that's vastly different than vicious behavior justified by internet material. why didn't you just speak plain to the american people? >> i did. if you look at my statement as opposed to what i was@"#maruz t theçsf] egyptian prime ministe did state clearly and i said it again in more detail the next morning as did the president. i'm sorry that it doesn't fit your narrative, congressman, i can only tell you what the facts were. >> you can see more of hillary clinton's testimony before the house benghazi committee and other top stories from capitol hill in 2015 tonight on c-span at 8:00 p.m. eastern. the senate foreign relations committee earlier this month held a hearing on u.s. strategy in afghanistan. the committee heard from former u.s.b ambassadors to afghanista and pakistan as well as afghanistan's former interior
minister. tennessee senator bob corker chairs the foreign relations committee. >> foreign relations committee will come to order. we want to thank our witnesses for being here and certainly all of our committee members. i think in lieu of reading my normal opening statement, i just want to make a general statement. and that is that yesterday we had a classified briefing. what we hear in classified briefings about the direction and signals and all the things that are occurring in afghanistan directly contradict some of the rosy public statements that are made about what is happening within the country. i think it's actually alarmingw to go to a classified session and then to hear reports about thosef?f;?ju(uáárjjr' the armed services committee itself.
so, with that backdrop, i just want to say to each of you, all of usñ94ñ obviously want our na to be successful. in its efforts in afghanistan. i know there's been a debate about the numbers of troops on the ground. there's been some arbitrary numbers that have been thrown out. i know today we have 9,800 troops there. and yet from what i can tell we're continuing to lose territory, lose momentum. the status in afghanistan is today we're moving in a very negative direction on the ground. so, obviously that's concerning. weki9r know that the president, know he has a vast amount of experience. know he's somewhat of a technocrat. knows there are issues that need to be dealt with appropriately within the country, but when you look at all of these security issues that are being dealt
with, certainly it takes away from his ability to implement those. so, we're concerned about security. i think we're concerned about any type of reconciliation that's taking place. we understand the concerns that sñpakistan. and let's face it, to a degree hedging their bets. but from the outside, as you watch what's happening there, the taliban is gaining ground. and that is just a fact. so, i hope this hearing today, which will be obviously the first public hearing we've had in some time on this topic, will help us be illuminated. we thank you both of you very, very much for your service and for being here and we thank you for your willingness to help us with understandings as to what the ground. with that, i'll turn to senator cardin. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
and thank you for calling this hearing, and i want to thank our witnesses for being here. i just -- i'm going to follow the example of the chairman and just lay out some basic concerns i think that came out as a result not just of yesterday's briefing but as we've seen of late, and that is that how we doing on the security front in afghanistan. it seems like we're losing ground. what happened was a major concern. it showed real shortcomings in the afghan national defense and security forces to provide security to a region. what have we learned from that and how are we going forward. secondly, the reconciliation process, whether there can be a stable government in afghanistan representing all the interests of the country and thp &÷ role t pakistan is playing in that regard. are they -- are they a sincere partner in peace or are they just trying to protect their
interests in its relationship in that region. third, the development progress in afghanistan since 2001, the resources that we've put into afghanistan. there's certainly been a question. their economy is not performing anywhere near at a level that would be acceptable for sustainability and progress. and then today or yesterday "the new york times" an article that raises a question as to whether the taliban is key to u.s. aid projects which i would hike to get some answers on as to what is the short-term, long-term gains and whether our investments of u.s. taxpayer dollars are really being beneficial in afghan's future. then lastly, the anti-corruption efforts. we know the president made very strong commitments for anti-corruption and yet we see virtually no progress in dealing with the corruption issues in afghanistan.
so, what i hope we will do, we've been there for a while, what's gone right. build on that. we've done a lot of good things in afghanistan. i think we all acknowledge that. this is not the country it was in 2001 and that's a positive note. but things have gone wrong. and have we learned from what's gone wrong so that we can take appropriate adjustments to make sure that we have an effective policy for afghan's future and u.s. policy interests. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses. we'll now turn to our witnesses on the first panel we'll hear from two administration witnesses representing the state department and usaid whose portfolios include both afghanistan and pakistan. the second panel includes three informed experts on afghanistan and the region. we thank them for being here. so our first witness is the respected ambassador richard olson, the united states special representative for afghanistan and pakistan and recently
returned as our ambassador from islamabad. we thank you very much for a career in public service and foreign service and for being here today. our second witness is donald l. sampler, jr. assistant to the administrator for pakistan and afghanistan at usaid. we thank you for what you your cohorts do around the world to further our u.s. interests, so with that, ambassador olson, if you would begin, we appreciate it. i will just say as a courtesy to my fellow panelists here the deadline for a couple issues is 21 minutes relative to the other thing we're working on. i may step in and out a little bit, and miss a little bit. not out of disrespect. thank you. >> chairman corker, ranking member cardin,w< members of the committee, it's an honor to appear before you today to discuss the u.s./afghanistan relationship and our continuing effort to support afghanistan's progress toward security and self-relinings. let me thank the members of this committee and the american
people for their generous and steadfast for our efforts in afghanistan. in particular i want to honor thousands of military personnel, diplomats and development personnel who have served and continue to serve in afghanistan. mr. chairman, i recently returned from my first visit in my current position as special representative for afghanistan to kabul. we are at a critical moment in our work in afghanistan and the region as we push for the launch of an afghan-led peace process during the traditional winter lull in fighting between afghanistan and the taliban. the administration remains committed to a stable and secure afghanistan. and we remain convinced that a negotiated settlement between the government of afghanistans and taliban is the surest way to end the conflict. the government of national unity which came to power in the first peaceful and democratic afghanistan's history embodies the potential that afghanistan
has to thrive for. it has weathered tremendous adversity in its first year but retains its democratic mandate and has demonstrated a commitment to be a partner with us in addressing our common security interests. it's no secret that the bilateral relationship between afghanistan and pakistan has been difficult. but president gani and the prime leadership in trying to bridge the divide. both sides show readiness to engage, to put differences#$"pñ aside, and to build on the meeting between afghan government and taliban representatives that took place in july of last year. now the taliban have a choice, to join good-faith negotiations for peace or to continue to fight a war they cannot win and face the consequences. a negotiated afghan-to-afghan settlement while difficult is possible and can be accomplished while preserving the gains made
in education, health, and the rights of women and minorities over the past decade. even as we push for progress on peace, the united states has a critical role to play in supporting continued development of afghanistan's security capabilities. president obama announced in october that we'll maintain 9,800 troops in afghanistan through the end of 2016 to train, advise, and assist afghan forces. i believe we are pursuing the right course in afghanistan but i want to be candid that great challenges remain. while the security in afghanistan remains volatile, we must give credit to the afghan national defense and security forces for demonstrating tenacity, ability, and 0vrjujut in countering attacks. while much work on development remains, over the past decade u.s. assistance has made a significant and tangible difference in the lives of the afghan people and has been critical to maintaining stability. per capita gdp has more than
tripled and afghans have access to reliable electricity, health care and independent media and are connected to each other and the world through communications technology. according to the u.n., we and other donors have helped afghanistan achieve a greater increase in its standard of living over the last decade than almost any other country on earth. the last decade's progress also is contingent upon continued support forol:fj afghanistan. next year at the warsaw nato summit in july and the brussels ministerial on afghan development in october we'll have an opportunity to work with our international partners to lay out aqni1 plan for future security and economic assistance. of course, our assistance comes with clear conditions and the concept of mutual accountability remains firmly in place. advancing the fight againstá corruption will be of particular importance in that regard. the peace process track cannot
succeed unless it is paired with a strong and credible commitment to afghanistan's security and to its economic priorities and its political leadership. addressing these challenges will not be easy. but i look forward to working with you on them in the weeks and months to come. thank you very much. >> thank you. mr. sampler? >> chairman corker, ranking member cardin, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and discuss usaid's civilian assistance activities in afghanistan. let me also begin by thanking the individuals present today who have served in afghanistan as well as their families. and i'm proud to include among those brave americans diplomats of the u.s. department of state, aid workers from the usaid and the thousands of men and women working shoulder to shoulder with us as partners in afghanistan over the past decade. i would also like to recognize the afghans who continue to work and to sacrifice to make their country a place that is safe, secure, and a good neighbor in
the region. the thousands of afghans working both in and out of government to secure a bright future for themselves and their families matter. and any strategy we discuss here today is predicated upon their continued dedication and our resolute support. our work in afghanistan reflects usaid's mission. we partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing america's own security and prosperity. usaid civilian assistance programs in afghanistan are a critical component of our core u.s. national security objective of a stable afghanistan that al qaeda and other terrorists cannot use as a base to threaten the united states, our interests and our persons abroad. we remain committed to assistance programs in afghanistan that are effective, accountable and sustainable. in my written testimony submitted for the record i detail some of the rigorous oversight and monitoring methods that usaid has implemented to prevent waste, fraud and abuse
and to ensure that american investments in afghanistan are making a lasting impact. usaid's central goal in after gan fan afghanistan is to promote a stable and prosperous country. they've made remarkable development gains across multiple sectors. thanks to the whole of government efforts of the united states along with our international partners the afghan government and the afghan people. the key elements of usaid's strategy call for making durable the significant achievements in health, education and the of women. focusing on economic growth and fiscal sustainability of the government of afghanistan. and supporting is you legitimate and effective afghan governance and in turn promoting statement. the strategy going forward will be founded on our successes, informed by our failures and shaped by our consultations with the government of afghanistan, other donors and the u.s. inner
agency. the successes have been in some cases remarkable. specific examples include life expectancy has increased in afghanistan from 42 years to over 62 years. maternal mortality rate has declined by 75% and child mortality has decreased by 62%. in 2002 there were less than a million afghans in school anywhere. now, there are over -- now there are millions of children in school and over a third of them are girls. in 2002 there were virtually no telephones in afghanistan. any call international had to be made over a handheld satellite phone. today the combined phone company coverage is 88 per of the afghan population. the telecommunications industry is afghanistan's greatest source of foreign direct investment. it is the largest remitter of taxes to the government of afghanistan and it is the biggest employer in afghanistan employing over 138,000 afghans. in 2002, when i first arrived in
afghanistan, only six percent of afghans had access to electricity. today more than 30% of the population is committed to the grid. the government with the support of usaid established afghanistan's electric utility about six years ago. today dabs no longer receives a subsidy from the afghan government and has turned a profit each year since 2011. while it's never comfortable to talk about failures in an engagement as complicated and difficult as afghanistan failures are inevitable. what is important that the failures be recognized as quickly as possible and that remedies be put in place to correct the failure and prevent its recurrence. usaid works hard all around the world to be an agile, adamantive and learning organizations. since 2002 in afghanistan in virtually every sector of our portfolio we've had to make adjustments based on our own monitoring and evaluation or on theíáhu observations of various auditors or the media. examples of the kinds of
modifications, in education we designed and launched a community-based education program that was going to be implemented by the ministry of education. but we quickly discovered the ministry was not yet capable of executing this program so no funds were dispersed and instead we recognized a different mechanism and it resulted in over 800 community-based schools and over 700 accelerated learning centers for out-of-school youth. the strategy going forward will be shaped by the government of afghanistan, our innerg/" agen person partners and others. in 2014, the london minqi%1 revisited those commitments and pointed the way towards a conference next year in brussels where we will again revisit our mutual accountability. finally in conclusion usaid knows well the risks and
sacrifices that americans, our troops and diplomats and families face every day serving in afghanistan. since 2001451 civilians working for our partners have been killed and close to 1,000 have been wounded. i have attended the funerals for u.s. civilian employees in afghanistan who were killed. we take very seriously the investment in blood and pressure made in afghanistan and we work hard to be good stewards of the resources provided to us. as we look to 2016 and beyond the agency is committed to making every effort to safeguard taxpayer funds and ensure that development progress in afghanistan is maintained and made durable in order to secure our overall national security objectives. it's an honor to be able to share with you today a small glimpse of what aid is doing in that regard and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much for that testimony. i'm going to do some interaction present to senator cardin for questions. >> well, once again, thank you both for the role that you have played in the development in afghanistan. it's certainly a much d)
country than it was in 2001. a lot of progress has been made. but there's reason for concern about its future, so let me ask a couple questions. ambassador olson, first, let me ask, what are the lessons learned? have we made strategic changes in the security arrangements in order to prevent a similar episode from occurring in the future? >> thank you, senator. the attack on kunduz was representative of a real challenge that the government of afghanistan faces. the taliban have been waging a very -- particularly aggressive campaign in 2015 throughout the fighting season. and as you know, the afghan national defense and security forces were forced to temporarily cede territory in
parts of helmand as well as in -- as well as in the city center of kunduz. and over the course of two weeks, the taliban occupied kunduz. and, you know, as general -- as general campbell has hu(j a public relations victory for -- for the taliban. it is important to note, however, that the afghan national security forces did retake kunduz. and as the country has -- and has maintained control of -- government forces have maintained control of kunduz since that time. the government of afghanistan is in the process of looking at lessons learned from that experience. and there has been a report that has been prepared with the government of afghanistan, and they are considering the responses that they're going to make. my understanding is it includes
provincial authorities and central authorities, which is perhaps one of the contributing factors to the weakness in kunduz. i would, of course, have to defer to my colleagues from the defense department on any military developments and the train and assist program. >> mr. sampler, let me turn to the question i raised during my the queshat i read in "the new york times." that indicate that the usaid programs are very much maybe depend upon taliban support and therefore taliban getting more support as a result of usaid perhaps strengthening their hold, contrary to ourems objec
in the tribal areas. are we focused -- there's short-term gains to try to help in regards to our military objectives. there's long-term development goals that we're trying to achieve in afghanistan. and when we confuse the two, sometimes we get into trouble. are we getting our dollar's value? and is there any truth to the report that the taliban is taking credit for the aid coming into the tribal areas? >> senator, thank you for the question. headlines like the one you cited are not like how i like to start my mornings as i wake up each day and look through the paper. the work is good and "the new york times" stories are typically fact based. this one has some issues that i will challenge. there was a study done that this report was based on, on measuring the impact of stabilization activities in afghanistan and this was requested by usaid and it was
our own attempt to -- [ inaudible ] and they studied over 5,000 vilans. th villages. they conducted over 100,000 interviews and of the 5,000 villages they studied either[ik or 13 depending on how you run the math, they found a correlation, not causality, but they found correlation between our programs and an increase in taliban support. so, the story focused unnaturally in my opinion on what is basically one tenth of one percent of the work that we did in afghanistan, where, in fact, we discovered ourselves there may have been a correlation between our work and x what's not mentioned in this story is the other 99.9% literally the programs which either showed no change or showed an actual improvement in support for the government. in afghanistan as"b9 is the cas everywhere, all politics are local, so these local project s are important to give afghans in
the villages a sense that they are part of the community and afghanistan. with respect to the second half short term versus long term, part of the challenge of being a development professional in a place like afghanistan is making sure that the important initiatives that are done to achieve short-term gains correspond with and support long-term development objectives. that's not always easy and in some cases it's actually problematic. but the other part of my job, of which i'qrr quite proud, the te that i have in am gan stan that works for ambassador olson and mckinley do an excellent job in making sure we do get a return on our investment and when we don't, we stop the program to find out why we aren't. >> thank you. ambassador olson, i don't think we're going to make progress in afghanistan unless we really have changes in anti-corruption activities. i know the president's made pretty strong statements about fighting corruption, but we haven't seen much action in fighting corruption. a later witness will give us some specific recommendations
such as a confirmed attorney general or providing a strong monitoring and evaluation committee, passing laws that provide stronger penalties and implementing the eiti. do you have a game plan for holding afghanistan to -- accountability on their anti-corruption efforts and not just the statement of the president? which i think is sincere, but has not been backed by any action. >> thank you very much for the question, senator. we are indeed intent on holding the government of afghanistan to its promises to address the question of endemic corruption in afghanistan. just to review a little bit what has happened so far -- we were encouraged by president gani's decision to reopen the
investigation in to the kabul bank scandal and the effort of the government of afghanistan to recover assets. we were then, i must say, discouraged by the fact that one of the maybe co-conspirators was kabul housing development projects. and at this point we understand that mr. ferozi is back in jail and the deal has been invalidated, and we will continue to watch that. but more generally, the government of afghanistan under president gani and with the full support of ]l)dullahs a improve anti-money laundering regulations, prosecuted judges trafficker and has established a national procurement commission which halted a series of illegal procurements in the ministry of
defense and entiinterior. going forward, i think we really need to continue to condition our assistance to the updated mutual accountability framework that was decided at tokyo. that will be an important part of our discussions with the government of afghanistan as we prepare for the big conferences coming up this summer, first in warsaw, dealing with security assistance, and then in brussels in october. dealing with development assistance. and i think we need to update theñqím mutual accountability framework and come up with very specific conditions for future assistance. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator purdue? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. ambassador, thank you for -- thank both of you for your service. but i want to focus on a couple reports that are just coming t
out. you know, when i was there in april and i had a -- i was honored to meet with general campbell, president gani, ceo:] abdullah and our ambassador, ambassador mckinney. seven or eight months later, it's shocking to see the difference in taking two polaroid shots of the situation. they were just coming -- getting ready to go into the fighting season, and, of course, now general campbell just last month, or in october rather, says -- and this was a testimony to congress. there was no winter at all in fighting. since february the fighting has been almost continuous. the violence has moved beyond traditional insurgent strongholds such as today over hatch of the 398 districts are under high or extreme taliban threat today. i'm coming to a quick question. but kunduz we know about. then the pentagon today just released its report to congress, and i know we don't have a dod rep here, but i want to get from
the state department your perspective on not only that report but the situation as it stands right now.je'y the report says that taliban attacks were given higher casualty to afghan forces. the afghan/pakistani border region is a haven for various groups. i was shocked at the number of groups it talks about in that report. and then dr. fred kagan in an aei report testified that he's not real sure and i quote, not confident there will actually be an afghanistan when the next president takes office. that's a severe description of the picture. but given the situation right now and the fact that, you know, we've got -- i guess the military in afghanistan has some 180,000 troops. we still have 9,800. general campbell won that argument. but we're moving to a situation where we're about to have 5,000 or so u.s. troops there. my question is, what does next year look like? what does this fighting season look like? and how deep is this threat?
isis has grown dramatically as we see in the reports just since april. in april it wasn't even a major conversation. now it is a primary part of any dialogue you have with people in afghanistan. so, from a what is our strategy right now in afghanistan? >> thank you very much, senator, for that question. i would say looking back at the, the past few months and, of course, i'm not really in a position to describe the military response, which is the responsibility of my colleague and friend it general campbell, but i will say that it strikes me at a political level that 9v a strong taliban offensive over the course of the past few months what in part a reaction to the revelation of the death of mullah omar and i think that there was intense competition amongst various taliban
commanders, which played itself out in part inincreased violence. it is very clear and i was just in kabul last week and twice with president ghani and he is absolutely determined that 2016 cannot be a repetition of 2015. and in particular, the question of reduction of violence is hugely important to him. in that regard, i think this raises the question of a reconciliation process, and afghan-led and afghan-owned reconciliation process at a heart of asia in islamabad last week we held a trilateral meeting between the united states, pakistan and afghanistan, which we recommitted ourselves to an afghan-led and afghan-owned peace process dur, t during the
remaining lull in the fighting season including for the first time a commitment language that all parties who refused to come to the table will be dealt with by all means available. so i think that we have to use the remaining time and the lull to work on getting an afghan-led, oañafghan-owned reconciliation process going, there was much more a meeting of the mints between president ghani and the pakistani leadership on this issue than there has been in some time. >> so we're moving towards a negotiation? there really isn't a strategy being talked about,2hp!out how o defeat the 8yfstaliban? is that what i hear? >> to be very clear, i would not say that there is no, there is no strategy for fighting not my particular piece of this
puzzle. >> i -- >> i think that a political settlement is an important element of, in working towards a political settlement is an important element of our multidimensional approach to afghanistan. it has been for some time. it has been at least since president obama's bagram speech of may 2012 and even before that, the reconciliation led by the afghans is an important element of what we're trying to do. >> can i ask you briefly with the time remaining, the iranian influence with the taliban has grown this year, according to several reports. p÷ is the afghan government doing and as a corollary to that, there have been outreaches from kabul to mass cow from a state department perspective, can you speak to both of those iranian support for afghan, groesz of isis and the third piece, the overtures that afghanistan is making to moscow?
>> well, we've -- we've seen the reports with regard to the iranian actions, of course. we don't understand why the iranians would be involved with the taliban and we don't think it's productive, and we think that all of -- all of afghanistan's neighbors should commit to non-interference in respecting pakistan's territorial integrity. with regard to russia, this is also a topic that we have discussed with, with the ójm6 n afghans. i met last week with my russian counterpart in, in islamabad.btó it was a preliminary meeting, but he pledged that he would, that russia would engage constructively, and continue to
cooperate with us. i think we have to test that proposition as we do all such propositions, but we'll intend to work with the russians where we can. consistent with our overall russia policy. >> thank you. >> senator murphy? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. you believe in the limits of american powers as a catalyst for change abroad absent a locao commitment to do so. in the last 25 years of afghanistan are certainly proof of concept. you guys have really hard jobs, and i'm glad that you're here briefing(xúbi us, but mister, ambassador olson, youke>xç talk about this idea that we are prepared to hold the afghans accountable for their lack of progress on anti-corruption efforts. with all due respect, i don't think there's any evidence to suggest that that's actually
true. i don't think over the last 15 years there's any evidence to suggest that the united states is willing to do things and send messages to the afghans to telegraph that we're serious in any way, shape or form about them getting serious about anti-corruption efforts. we seem to have made an independent decision that we have national security interests at stake in afghanistan, that we are going to commit the amount of resources necessary to stop afghanistan from becoming a safe haven, again, for terrorists, and that we are going to prioritize that, which involves a significant amount of american resources there, with or without a commitment from the afghan government to sort their own mess out, and so it seems to me, having gone to afghanistan, you know, four times, five times, having heard the same story over and over again about how we were pressuring them to take on corruption and how little progress we've seen that we should just admit that our
priorities actually is not to encourage local political change. our priority is to commit just enough resources to stop afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists, and admit that that's ultimately our number one priority, and it means that it often forces theh of local political change to become subverted to that first priority. tell me, i'm sure you think i'm wrong, but tell me why for those of us who have heard people tell us that we're going to start holding the afghans accountable for a lack of progress on corruption, why any of us should believe that we're actually ever prepared to send the tough message to them necessary to get them to change? >> well, thank you, senator, and first of all let me thank you for your kind words at the outset. we do have hard jobs, but they're important ones, and we're committed to following
through on them. i think that one thing that's worth noting is the tokyo conference in the summer of 2012 did establish this framework for mutual accountability between the donors and the government of afghanistan. and that from, i think from that moment forward there has been greater conditionality on the part of not just american assistance dut the international communities assistance. and this is a recognition in order for the government to have the legitimacy that it needs to carry out counterterrorism operations and establish security throughout the country that it needs to address the perception of corruption. so i don't see the goal quite as
much a contrast perhaps as you do. the other point is, i think there's a great willingness under this government in particular, under president ghani, to actually address the issue of corruption, and he recognizes the challenge that it represents for his, for his administration. so i think in the overall interests of good governance, which is a hugely important part of counterinsurgency, that it is, that it is essential that we continue to apply conditionality on these issues. i'd like to ask, if you're agreeing with my colleague, mr. sampler has anything to add on this, let me ask another question, you can maybe answer this one as well. then i would be interested for you to ar diticulate what you tk ra given the taliban this political space in which to operate? because if you read through the litany of progress we93u absoluy
have made on the number of after ganns who have access to schooling, to the number of homes that now have access to electricity, right? that should suggest a level of economic stability and economic opportunity that would give local populations faith in aligning themselves with local, regional or federal governance, and they're not doing that, which suggests that the government, because of corruption, and so it's sort of hard, again from your perspective, from this perspective, to hear all the progress we've made, but then to have no evidence that it's actually resulting in less support for the taliban when you look at the breadth of their cooperation over the course of the year. interesting in your perspective in terms of what you think is giving the taliban the political space, if you accept the notion there has been a lot of progress
made in terms of the programming that we've delivered? >> well, you know, i have to say, one of the challenges here is, attempting to peer in from the outside and figure out what the taliban motivations actually are and what the taliban grievousenses are, and i think our knowledge on this is, frankly, imperfect. i do think it is one of the reasons why it is important to have an afghan-led and afghan-owned reconciliation process going forward so that these issues can be identified, and we can attempt to, attempt to identify what some of the grievances may be. but i would defer to larry on that. the questions of assistance. >> senator, thank you for the question. with respect to corruption, two observations's if you don't mind i'll answer the second question.
first is how president ghani takes the corruption issue, a h anecdotely i sat in the meeting he personally chairs every saturday night and are incredibly painful because president ghani based on world bank experience and personal experience in afghanistan understand how hard it is to eradicate and has to be as the ambassador said by his government. at the micro level, he needs to get a jumpstar on fighting revenue. one example, usdia has been helping president ghani with customs collections. most of the corruption is face-to-face corruption where a truck driver's approached, extorted for money, not once or twice in some cases as many as six times by individuals saying they represent the government in taking money, by allowing them to do their customs pamtsds
electronically, the face-to-face engagements are no longer necessary and president ghani's expects to reduce corruption both at the customs houses and increases revenues and we have early indications where they have instituted electronic transfers they have, in fact, increased the customs collections at those three border crossings. the problem hasn't gone away by any stretch of the imagination, but with the election of president ghani and ceo abdullah there is an issue and they've addressed that to you and me. political space. with all due respect i describe it differently. the asia foundation has done a survey of the afghan fop lation that doesn't show population in the increase of taliban, in fact, less popular. by use of force, taliban forces them physically into spaces they're not welcome. the afghan population at the individual family level learned over decades of combat how to survive and it may be in their best interests or perceive it in
their best interests at the moment to acquiesce to the taliban control of their area, but i'm fairly confident and i will actually yield to ali jalali. it's good you have an actual afghan to talk how afghans see these problems. i don't necessarily think they've taken advantage of political space. they have taken advantage of the government's inability to project force to every corner of the country at the same time. >> senator barrasso? >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> ambassador olson, i want to talk more about what's happening with isis and you were just in afghanistan last week. i was the there for thanksgiving up in northern afghanistan, and hearing more and more about the spread of isis across the middle east, it's obviously serious concern to us in regard to national security. yesterday the department of defense warned about the growth of isis in afghanistan. the report from the department of defense stated that isis "has progressed from its initial
exploratory phase to a point where they're openly fighting the taliban for establishment of a safe haven and becoming more operationally active." it went ton say that isis claimed responsibility for the ied attacks against united nations vehicle, attacks against i think ten checkpoints in september when i was in kabul. as you know, they're not taking vehicles back and forth to the embassy. things are now by helicopter just because of this increased concern. can you talk about the best estimates and the number of isis fighters in afghanistan? >> thank you, senator. i will have to get back to you on a number, on our estimate. i don't have that with me today. we are aware of the emergence of daesh in angohar province in particular and not only with afghanistan but also with
pakistan, and we take very seriously the potential emergencek[o of daesh in, in afghanistan and pakistan. that said, our understanding of the diematic right now is that, in fact, these are disaffected taliban factions and commanders who have switched allegiance to daesh. that's not to underestimate the danger that this represents, buts it is also to suggest that there is not necessarily a direct linkage and flow of materiel or fighters from the middle east to the afghanistan/pakistan region. so far daesh has been confined to the southern districts of nangahar and we'll continue to work with afghanistan and pakistan to the extent we can work with them jointly to ensure
that they are responding to this emerging threat. >> i wonder if you could help us, because i've heard the same thing when i was there and asked some of these questions and the same thing. some of these are with respect to taliban members heading over to isis. the issue of pay came up, and could you talk a little bit about how different people are paid differently in afghanistan? i mean, the pecking order seemed to be that isis was getting the most money. the people that were willing to fight for isis. the next level down from there was the taliban and the level below that was the afghan army and then the level below that was the afghan police. so for people that are focused on the monetary aspects of this, there was actually a pec("y) olderer of which side you were on and how much you got paid? >> yeah. well, i have heard these stories as well, about the relative pay. these are questions that i think need some, to be seriously
addressed. you know, one of the questions, of course, that we will be addressing at the international level in warsaw in july is continuing sustainment of the defense forces, and i also thina it highlights the continued importance of dealing with the financing of these organizations. >> does it -- did you see any evidence that either taliban or isis is interested in actually governing afghanistan or simply want to be left alone in their own safe havens or just create more -- more problems? >> the taliban? >> yeah. >> their rhetoric certainly suggests that they intend to try to once again rule afghanistan as they did during the '90s. their official title, of course, is, they call themselves the islamic emirate of afghanistan,
and so we have seen,y2z÷ includ in such preliminary, the preliminary talks that took place in murray, in july, that the taliban does, indeed, assert national aspirations, but it's perhaps not surprising that they would do so. >> in terms of troop level and, senator perdue asked about specifically the troop level of the 9,800 troops currently until the end of '16. the administration originally it was only about 1,000 troops by the end of '16. given the current security situation, the increased violence, does the state department believe that the united states should go down to 5,500 troops after 2016? or 1,000? kimuujtáñe your thoughts on the >> well, as the president has
announced, we will have 9,800 troops through most of 2016, bz bulk of the fighg season. and -- and we believe that the commitment of the 5,500 for the period beyond is important for the continued train and assist mission, continuing c.t. mission in afghanistan and i think it also sends and important regional signal, a signal that the united states remains engaged and committed in the region, and i think it also sends an important signal to the taliban which will be helpful as part of a reconciliation process. >> final question. could you just give me your assessment of the afghan national security forces? >> the afghan national security forces, national security and defense forces, have faced great challenges over the course of
the last year. they have, however, shown a marked willingness to fight. there continues to be -- they continue to need support in logistics, sustainment, all of the enablers that actually make a, an army able to fight. in other words, they need some of the ministry of defense functions, and in that regard, it would be helpful to have a minister of defense. >> thank you mr. ambassador. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator kaine? >> thank you, mr. chair and thank you to the witnesses. it is a very, very challenging service, and i appreciated mr. sampler, your going into some of the metrics of improved quality of life in afghanistan that have been achieved with a tremendous amount of work by americans and coalition partners and i especially acknowledge that you acknowledged our troops and also
of all the civilians and usid and ngos, a comprehensive effort in things like the life expectancy expansion are nearly revolutionary if you look at what that has meant to afghanistan, but i we all want that progress to not be a temporary phenomena to continue and that's why we're here. one of the things that troubles me, i think the chairman in his opening comments talked about the divergence between what we often hear from afghanistan in classified and unclassified settings and i had an opportunity yesterday to be with others in a classified setting on afghanistan, and i was struck by the divergence between different classified settings i go to, and in particular the divergence between classified information conveyed by folks in the intel community versus classified information conveyed by folks in the armed services committee, i'm on the armed services committee, too, and i think a little bit of tension between the intel community approachand the armed services
approach is not that unusual, but i will say, and i've only been here three year ess, but in three years here i've never heard as broad a convergence and i don't think i can say the issues without jeopardizing what may be classified but i don't think i've heard as broad a divergence between classified accounts between the intel, community and the armed services community, in any other instance, except current status of a number of issues really important, really fundamental, really critical issues about the state of affairs in afghanistan, and it's very, very troubling. let me ask you a couple of questions. you each have joint bill its with afghanistan and pakistan and i'm really interested in your thoughts about the current afghanistan and pakistan relationship and we know it doesn't have to be from a classified hearing, from public accounting of taliban activity in pakistan that taliban have used pakistan as a safe haven
over time and there's a very important agreement to which pack thanh's cooperation with z vice versa is critical to stability in afghanistan. what is your current perception from your, from each of your respective roles about the degree of cooperation between the afghan and pakistan governments, especially when it comes to these issues of security and the counterterrorism effort? >> thank you, senator kaine. there's -- i'm just coming out of three years in pakistan, and i can assure you that this has been at the center of our dialogue with pakistanis, and i think it's safe to say that there was no conversation that i had with the security establishment in pakistan that did not include a very direct, very frank discussion about specifically the haqqani network and the taliban in general, and
we will continue to have those very frank discussions. the pakistanis have taken action against the ttp. they launched operation in june of 2014 and have largely cleared north waziristan agency, which was a long-standing objective for us,lû to get their soverei authority re-established over all of their, all of their territory. but they have focused more on the ttp, the pakistani taliban, than they have on external terrorist actors. that is to say actors that threaten their neighbors, whether afghanistan or india. so we will have to continue to push them on these, on these particular/u6ñ points. that said, i think there is a recognition in pakistan that there has been bleed-over between the pakistani taliban and the afghan tag bann and it's not so clear that even if they wanted to distinguish between good and bad any more that they
can. so that's one of the -- i think that creates an opportunity that we will want to, you know, per s pursue as much as possible. moving quickly to the state of afghanistan/pakistan relations, we feel last week was actually fairly significant. president ghani went to the heart of asia conference. prime minister shareef committed to repping sovereignty, territorial integrity,bhfñl res for the government and its constitution, which was important language for the, for the afghans. in the trilateral sessioni conducted, they committed to resuming a peace process as soon as possible and to using all available means against those members of the taliban who did not join the peace process. so i think, although there's a long history of tension between
afghanistan and pakistan, i think after last week we feel that relations are at least somewhat improved. >> please, mr. sampler, and then i have one more question. >> senator, thank you. with respect to demonstrated collaboration and cooperation between afghanistan and pakistan, and i would add the other nations in the region, recently casa 1000 was signed, an energy corridor returning from central asia down through afghanistan and pakistan with enormous, positive consequences for all the member kuns and al just this week broken ground on tapi, india energy corridor also have connective resonance for the countries in the region. i think this is one of those places where the security focus and the commerce focus are going to overlap to the degree that we can get the countries in this part of the region working together on economic growth, they have skin in the game to provide stability, and vice versa, to provide, they have to
provide the stability in order to see the economic growth. there is also an increase in cross-border trade with respect to things as simple as fruits and nuts. afghanistan is expecting in 2015 to see 36 million dollars worth of their produce being shipped abroad largely to pakistan. so it's there. i would like to add, i very much appreciate your observations about the divergen opinions with respect to observes places like afghanistan. shared as a young soldier first exposesed to classified information, information isn't classified because it's more correct than other information, and other perceptions. it's classified because of how it was collected. and what i get from my implementing partners on the ground in afghanistan is that the afghanistan, they see and touch and live in every day differs depending when province and district they're in. intelligence community's fairly dire estimates but in others they are actually making progress on value changes, exports, being able to educate
sons and daughters. it's not, in my hummable opinion, as simple as it sometimes portrayed but i very much appreciate your kt6éçdefin that. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you both for your, your service to the country. we really appreciate all of the hard work and what are very, very difficult circumstances. ambassador olson, you mention in your opening statement here, the administration remains committed to a stable and secure afghanistan, and we remain convinced that a negotiated settlement between the government of afghanistan and the taliban is the surest way to end the conflict. and i -- i'm wondering, i have the same impression, that -- that senator kaine does. i'm not on the armed services committee, but that there's a very stark difference here between, between some of the
intelligence, but that -- that aside, let me ask, if we're wanting to get them to the peace table, and this afghan-led peace process, isn't the taliban have to be at a point in the -- in their situation, in the conflict, where they feel there's a reason for them to come to the table? where they're -- and looking at it, from my perspective, your testimony and others here, that they're resurgent. they're doing better. they're capturing cities. they're releasing people from prisons. i mean, they're making major gains, and so what is, and we're i mean, what convinced me that they really want, in good faith, to come to the table, and the question's addressed to both of you. >> yes, senator udall, thank you
so much. that's very thoughtful a question. it strikes me that there are a couple of things that give us some leverage in this situation. first of all, the --ózy> the tn do seem to desire some degree of international political legitimacy. they recognize, apparently, and i have to -- i will say at the outset that i think we have to be cautious about what we know about the taliban and what we presume, but it does appear that as a result of their historical experience when they were governing in the 1990s and were isolated and cut off from the outsid9m2?oyworld, and afghanis is a country that has always been reliant to some extent on external assistance. i think that they look t«qxx0.s
international legitimacy as an important objective, and the only way that that could be achieved is through some kind of political settlement. the second element is what i alluded to before, which is the question of pressure, and i think it's significant in this regard, that we have the language coming out of the trilateral statement last week, in islamabad, talking about the use of all available means against those who are not prepared to, to reconcile. >> the -- mr. sampler, do you have any;⌜a comment on the sidef this from your + aid and the, that indicate to you that there's a real sincere effort on the part of the taliban to be a part of a peace process? >> the only observation i would be able to make is that in order to be a player in the economic
growth we hope lp occur in that part of the world as the ambassador said, twhoe have to be a legitimate partner and player and in no way considered legitimate at this point. a very indirect measure but the only input i would have. y talk abou economic development, i mean, the security, security's affected afghanistan's economic -- i'm trying to probe now. if on their economic outlook, if the -- what's the status of some of the major mining, energy and other capital projects that investors such as china and india have subscribed to? what projects are under way in producing revenue, if any? which projects are stalled? and why are they stalled? >> you talked about the exports to pakistan, but i'm talking about these bigger projects that you're aware of, i'm sure.
>> essential. o certainly. one of the things that encourages me about president ghani's cabinet, he brought in younger tech know creak ministers. you asked about mining, i'll use mines he told me he had 390 vacant civil service positions, and i said, well, how many have you filled? he said there's about 20 that are filled, but 390 are vacant. so the ministry was very much a contempten ministry. strength at the top, nothing behind it. with this ministry he was expected to pursue fair, open and transparent procurements for mineral rights, for gas rights, and for exports of the same.mñz% what he's done is he's filled about half the vacancies at this point in time. he's moved forward on a gas pipeline in the north of afghanistan that for 12 years pry her not been moved on. he has identified some very low-hanging fruit and not the most lucrative mining sectors, to be honest. talc powder is not considered sexy or lucrative but it is an
area he believes, the state will be able to exercise monopoly on and collect taxes and tariffs on the mines of talc. another is the jewelry lappas -- the precious minerals found only in afghanistan. ways to achieve quick results, but these are not things that are typically done quickly. the u.s. interest has been the ministry build the capacity to do it equitably and transparently and i think president ghani's ministers are focusing on doing that. >> thank you. >> please, ambassador? >> yes, senator, i would just add what my colleague larry had mentioned before, which is the forward movement on both tappie, the pipeline, turkmanistan, afghanistan pipeline, india, a
project's in fruition for something like nearly 30 years, and is now much closer to actually moving forward. i mean, that's quite significant. and the other is casa 1000, which doesn't have quite as venerable a history but has been around for a while, but the power purchasing agreement was just signed within the last week. so i think those are positive indicators. >> of indian, india or china involved in either one of those? >> well, the ultimate concept for tappie is that it would go on to pack starn and india. i believe that the latest agreement is between turkmanistan, and afghanistan. so there is still some negotiations to be done, but the indication is very positive. >> i would be remiss if i didn't note that tomorrow in nairobi, afghanistan will be accepted into the world trade organization.
that is not in and of -- it is in and of itself and accomplishment. it's been several years in the making but begins a very difficult journey for afghanistan to make the kinds of procedural and legal adjustments they have to makedt in order fo describing to be both productive in a short run and sustainable. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator isakson? >> thank you, mr. chairmanen and i awe apologize i had to go in and out and missed some of the questions and may be redundant and i apologize for that. mr. sanford, did you serve in usaid when we in iraq? >> yes, sir, i did. >> were you ever part of the reconstruction teams ever part of what? >> no, sir. 3= served in baghdad. >> mr. olson, were you involved when we were involved in iraq? >> yes, start that. i served in iraq from december of 2003 to march of 2004. in a governor-led team in iraq, a predecessor to the prts.
>> correct me if i'm wrong. the teeblgts of hearing administration strategy in afghanistan but i want to reflect back to iraq for a second in my experience there. our strategy in iraq obviously stabilize the country through the use of soft pow around things like usa id and construction teams to win the people over leave enough's a residual force for security in the country and hopefully win them over to be an independent, free democracy in a dangerous part of the world. wasn't that about right to describe our strategy. >> yes-ñeeo is -- i don't have responsibility for iraq right now. >> this is not a trick question. i'm just -- feel free to correct me if i'm wrong in any of this because i'm trying to get to a point. >> yes, sir. >> what worries me, i read january campbell's statements about the growth of isil and strength of the taliban and reflected back to iraq. i walked in the streets of gaza with a u.s. rifle company handing out microloans and helping small businesses grow through the prts and really winning the country over and
then we left. and our military presence left and isil came in. i know the president decided to leave 5,000, i believe that's the right number, of troops in afghanistan. is that not correct? is that enough to prevent what happened in iraq, from happening again in afghanistan? where there's so little protection we can't let the soft power we want to use to win the people over actually take hold ingq terms of our strategy? that's the question i'm getting to. >> thank you, senator. i think there are some important differences between afghanistan and iraq. i would highlight a couple of them. one is that we do have a bilateral security agreement with afghanistan, and that is what allowed the president to make the decision he did to allow troops to stay longer in afghanistan. of course, we did not have that in iraq. i think it's also fair to say
for all of the challenges that the government of national unity faces in afghanistan, it is a more inclusive government. and brings together more elements of, of the population, and so i don't think you have the situation where there is one particular ethnic group in afghanistan that is feeling marginalized as a group. obviously, it's a complex ethnic situation, and -- but the political differences tend to cleave across sectarian lines rather than in alignment with sectarian lines, and i think that's probably it's most important point that i would make. this is, of course, a very soft subject, and it'so impressionistic than anything can you reduce to a metric, but there is a very definite sense of afghan nationalism as, that
all afghans are, or most afghans subscribe to, and the country does not have a tradition of -- let me not overstate this. there is not as much of a tradition of sectarianism, ethnic and religious sectarianism in the country and a very strong sense of national identity in history, which helps to bring people together. that means the conflict is more about who's going to run the place than whether the place is going to fall apart. >> i really appreciate that answer, and this is an observation i'll make. the reason afghanistan has been at war for 300 years because that strong sense of national unity, they want to be in control 6 their own destiny and fought whoever fought to control them. is that correct? >> yeah. afghan history is a complex subject. >> but national security is one of the contributing factors, is it not? >> yes, well, there is a very
strong sense of nationalism, mobilized against foreigners at various times. it's worth noting in that regard that over the past 14 years the afghan people have been remarkably welcoming of -- of our forces. and i think they are more welcomed than any predecessor foreign forces in afghanistan's history and that's a remarkable achievement, credit to our armed forces, by the way. >> thanks to both of you for your service and thank you for answering the questions. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. and we're about to close out and have another panel. just out of curiosity, to follow-up a little on senator kaine's comments about the diverging views. i will say for what it's worth, i know i had a private meeting with you, ambassador olson. we had the classified briefing and for what it's worth, while you obviously speak in a more statesman-like manner, the views
of what is happening in afghanistan were very aligned. the meeting we had in our office, class 235briefing yestey was very much aligned. we got some issues we need to deal with. why do you think there is that divergent view on the other side that takes place? i know that you work closely with our armed services. how could it beobeñ as involved you are there, both of you, that we have an alignment&,0÷ over h at the state department and with our intelligence, but a disalignment, if you will, over on the other sectors? >> well, all i can say, senator, is that we really -- we really do try, particularly in the afpack arena where i have been working for the last four years to bring about a whole of
government approach, not just in terms of our operations and what we're trying to do, but also in our, in our assessments. it's evident to me from your comments we have work to do in a that regard and probably owe you some better alignment on how we are thinking. >> i actually found the alignments we had yesterday to be very good. but -- so i just -- the taliban issue now, obviously we came into afghanistan in '01. the issue was to end the taliban's existence and dominion over government at the time. now they are making, they're changing the facts on the ground. is that fair? >> to some extent. yeah. i think -- i don't think we know yet how much those facts on the ground have actually been changed.
>> and there are discussions about over time, i mean, we've made some accommodating comments, publicly, our government has, relative to their potential involvement in the government down the road. i mean is that fair to say? >> we have committed to an afghan-led, afghan-owned reconciliation process, but the terms of the kind of political settle nant you'ment that yauou about would have to be led by the afghans. that's not for us to announce. >> i'm stepping in and out. i greatly apologize. my understanding is a statement was made at present they're not exhibiting the characteristics that would be appropriate for them to be a part of that. is that correct? >> i believe my colleague, larry sampler, made that comment, with which i would fully agree.
the point was, i think, that the taliban does seek a degree of international legitimacy, and this may be one of the reasons that they have been willing to come to the table. at least at murray and be in july of last year. but they have a long wray to go before they would in any way be considered legitimate, and i think for us we have been careful not to establish pre-conditions for negotiations, but we support the afghan end conditions, which are renunciation of violence. acceptance of the constitution, including its provisions related to women and minoritiea a÷ and complete break with international terrorism, especially al qaeda. those are the end conditions of the negotiating process. >> and so that's the end state that the afghan government is looking towards. i think it's good that we have an established pre-conditions
ourselves. what would be, though, the characteristics the taliban would need to exhibit from your standpoint, to be legitimate entity for the afghan government to begin negotiations with?f@7 >> well, i think we would not want to establish pre-conditions. for -- for the -- >> yeah. just your observation would be -- >> yeah. i think what is important is that at the end of the negotiating process, those three outcomes are guaranteed, and that is what we seek. a process that generates those three outcomes. >> and do you think based on what you know the taliban has the capacity to reject terrorism and violence? >> they have -- it's always very difficult, and i'm always very cautious about what we think the
taliban is thinking. it's a very -- it's a very fraught subject. one of the reasons that a negotiating process would help to bring some of this out, but issued in mullah omar's name, turns out we thought at the time may have been issued by mullah omar that suggests some movement on some of these, on some of these issues. but whether that's actually something prepared to, can only be determined through a negotiating process. >> a come more just brief questions. you know, we had a -- a decent meeting with the prime minister of pakistan, and their military leadership. you know, they gave us strongly worded statements about the isis involvement in how 1,000% were committed to dealing with the taliban, dealing with other
groups that are housed in the fuad reach rch and securing they did everything they could to be sure that afghanistan was stabilized. on the other hand i get the strong sense that's maybe not 100% accurate. they're watching what is happening on the ground. they want to have the proper relationship, if you will, with the, the ultimate leadership group that exists in afghanistan, and what they're seeing right now is a situation where they're not sure what that outcome is going to be's my sense that is instead of them actually carrying out what they said here in our presence, that they are hedging their bets, and they're -- trying to calculate, if you will, what afghanistan is going to be over time. right now we have 9,800 troops ourselves in afghanistan. there's been a sort of an arbitrary date of numbers of troops that will be there over the course of this nextorfvu ye. i think dropping down to about 5,000.
but it seems to me we've got our hands full as-is. that it's incredibly difficult for us to -- to keep violence down and stability in place at present, and i'm just, just out of curiosity does that raise questions to you as to when we need to be deciding ultimately what our security force totals are going to be in afghanistan? >> if i could start, senator, with the first piece on pakistan. i mean, first of all, pakistan has moved in a significant way on its own terrorism threat. it has largely cleaned out north waziristan. agency, something we had long desired, it's re-established control over most of northern waziristan, and i think there is z recognition on the part of the government of pakistan that there is
significant bleedover between the pakistani taliban and the afghan taliban, and that this is one of the motivations forms&v[r desire to, you know -- that it is no longer simple for them as it may have been in the past, even if they in principle agree to distinguish between good and bad taliban. the other important point is, i think that they've recognized at the outreach that president ghani has made to pakistan, and recognize that this is a historic opportunity, and they would like to seize on that. that's why we think that there is some, one of -- you know, among several reasons,lr-gr tha there is possibility for moving forward on a reconciliation process now, because there's a greater degree of alignment on
these issues between afghanistan and pakistan than there has been for some time in the past. >> what about the seconds part of the question? >> well, the second part, sir, you know, the president's decision is to go to the 5,500 troops after the end of 2016, and i think will be, it will be for the next administration to determine what troop levels it wants to support. >> and i have no desire, i respect you, i think you and i may have traveled together to the waziristans, i if remember correctly. >> we did, sir. >> i don't want to create a divergence between you and the administration, but let's just say at present, i mean, things could change certainly between now and the end of the year. our security forces have their hands full in working with the afghan military to try to create a secure environment. is that correct?
>> they -- yes, they have a challenging a assignment, but i have talked to my colleague and friend general campbell, and he's confident that he has what he needs at the moment. >> at the moment. yeah. well, listen, i've certainly appreciate your service. i appreciated your candor yesterday in our office. i appreciate the service you provided in multiple settings, and certainly y'all have been helpful to us today, and i do think that it would be fair to say based on the entirety of yesterday, today and just other interaccesses we had, we should all be very concerned about outcomes in afghanistan and understand that tremendous diligence and effort is still necessary and leadership on their part, to cause a successful outcome to e occur. would you agree? >> i think we all face a lot of challenges, sir. absolutely. >> thank you both. appreciate it.
we thank all of you for being here. our first witness today will be the former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan james cunningham. someone we all know well. now he's senior fellow at the khalilzad chair on afghanistan at the south asia center of the atlantic council. we thank you for being here. the second witness will be former afghan minister, mr. ali jalali. thank you so much for being here. we all know you, also. now distinguished professor at the near east and south asia center for strategic studies at the national defense university. our third witness will be jodi vittori. a senior policy advisor at the global witness, at global witness. he has also served in the u.s. military in fc afghanistan. thank you for that service and in countering4vtútju(tion in th defense and surty sector i know there is a big job. so we thank you all for being here. we think this is a very distinguished panel. if you could keep your comments
to around five minutes, without objection, your written testimony will be entered into the record. why don't we, if we could, go in the order of introductions starting with you, ambassador cunningham. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman's good to see you again. senator cardin, members of the committee, i am honored to testify today on u.s. strategy in afghanistan, and i appreciate this opportunity to address why afghanistan is so important, and to place our efforts there in the context of the challenge we face from the extreme distorted islamic ideology which threateñc or citizens, our values and our way of life. rather than submit a statement for the record i would refer the council paper on afghanistan and u.s. security of which i was the principal author. cosigned by 28 former senior u.s. government officials of both parties and prominent policy experts and with senators mccain and6÷hñ reid as honorar co-sponsors, that is jack reid.
the paper registers bipart stan agreement that afghanistan matters to america's security, has arq>p way forward to succes despite all the challenges, merits the continued u.s. engamement required to protect american interests and should be seen in the context of the broader terrorist threat. we argued it to maintain u.s. and coalition military forces and intelligence assets and close to current levels and to leave options open for the next american president. 2014 and 2015 were years of great politicalpxj] security an economic transition and uncertainty for afghanistan. with clarity about long-term u.s. engagement there is not an opportunity to turn that around. i applaud president obama's decision to maintain the u.s. military presence in afghanistan through 2016 and beyond. this is a critically important strategic indicator of u.s. commitment to afghanistan's security and success. it provides clarity for afghans, the tap bann in the region, that there will be a significant u.s. military role in the future with
no deadline. i wish such clarity hi been provided several years ago. it is critical of the confidence of afghans that they were succeed and demonstrating to the taliban they cannot. clarity that the afghan project will not fail, that afghanistan will not collapse under taliban pressure and terror, will be crucial to the prospects for afghan confidence, continued success and ultimately for peace. preserving that clarity is, in fact, the priority strategic goal. it must be clear there is no space in afghanistan for al qaeda and daesh to flourish nor a place for the taliban absent a political settlement. with today's increased levels of threats the administration should revisit whether the u.s. strategy formulated several years ago it adequate to today's task. the afghan security forces are doing the fighting's they will continue to improve. any further reduction in international forces must be
commensurate with ansf capabilities and critical gaps and close air support, intelligence and logistics must continue to close and not widen. the development of afghanistan's own air capabilities including the sustainment of their own helicopters must be a priority. in this new context of clarity of u.s. commitment, we should explore a genuine regional effort to strengthen afghanistan and promote peace. there are hopeful signs as we heard earlier at last week's meeting at the heart of asia process in islamabad. after the setbacks of last summer, president ghani deserves credit for renewing the effort to open doors with pakistan. the test will be whether pakistan takes concrete actions not only to support reconciliation, but to reduce theability of the taliban and the haqqani network to plan and launch operations from pakistan, which greatly diminishing the prospects for real negotiations. the crucial task to ahead for
afghanistan are exceedingly difficult, improving security, creating conditions for peace, building the economy, strengthening government, forging afghan plit unity. for afghanistan to succeed, two mutually reinforcing processes must be continued. first it must be clear that adequate military and financial and political support are available so that afghanistan -- afghans will have the time to build on progress made and continue to take responsibility for their own affairs. second the national unity government needs to perform and demonstrate achievement to the after gann peop afghan people and the international community. the new jobs for peace program is an effort with security and economic implications to provide work as the economy develops. the challenges are considerable, but afghanistan's political class must understand that the opportunity today afforded afghanistan is unique and must not be squandered if afghanistan
is to be seen as worthy of continued international support. the challenge to our security in afghanistan is one part of the long-term threat the world not just the rest, threaten ied by islamic extremism. the goal remains to prevent and to help afghans prevent afghanistan from becoming again a platform for those who threaten us. we have tended to dismiss the daesh presence in afghanistan as rebranded taliban as if that made it less dangerous. we have seen in libya that such indigenous affiliates eventually control ground and connect with the center in syria. if afghanistan wesñ have a strategy that can work with a willing islamic partner in the fight against terror with the clarity of international commitment afghanistan can increasingly become a contributor to security. we must not lose sight of afghanistan as we did before
after the expulsion but not the defeat of the taliban. our efforts there must be long term and in concert with the need for the united states to help develop and implement a generational strategy to defend our people and their values while draining life from islam that informs daesh and others. military force must be an instrument, the defeat of d" only come within the islamic world which can play a leading role as part of a multilateral effort. this is the context in which our future work in afghanistan and the region must be seen. the success of afghanistan is part of this larger struggle which the civilized world including more than 1.5 billion peace-loving muslims must win. the instruments we have used in the past, our strategies for dealing with state-to-state conflict, the leadership patterns and the discourse with our publics have not kept pace fully with the terrorists
threats that evolve today and exist tomorrow. in short the united states and its partners have much serious work to do and afghanistan must be part of that effort. thank you, sir. >> thank you very much. i want to apologize to all of you. we have an omnibill that was just produced last night about 12:00 and today they are still discussions that are under way. as we step in and out, it's not out of lack of interest on this topic. we're going to be out of here this week with a massive piece of legislation that has passed and we apologize for tending to that. which, by the way, parts of affect afghanistan, too. >> i thought it was all finished. if i knew it was still open, i'd be out there also. >> okay. well, that's a secret we're keeping. thank you. >> thank you very much. noble chairman corker, ranking member, honorable members of the senate foreign relations committee. offer my evaluation of the administration's strategy on
afghanistan. the assessment i offer today is based entirely on my own views and analysis. mr. chairman, on january 1st, 2015, after the coalition officially concluded combat mission in afghanistan, the afghan national defense and security forces in spite of specific capability gaps independently faced the upsurge of insurgency in 2015. to a large extent held its own albeit with a higher casualty rate. given the complex political and security context of the situation, in and around afghanistan, including the threat of the emerging daesh, we are -- the afghan national defense and security forces are expected to face continued security threats in violence at least in the immediate future. it is a force of immense capability to face ongoing
security challenges while still constrained by capability gaps in certain key areas which have been covered by the u.s. forces in the past. the fast-paced numerical force generation of afghanistan national defense and security forces during the transition period left little time to develop certain capabilities including the air force, intelligence, logistics, that takes longer time in elaborate infrastructure. the presence of u.s. forces and nato and president obama's decision to keep 5,500 troops in afghanistan beyond 2017 will ensure continued assistance to build indigenous security capacity in afghanistan to respond to the threats the country faces. whether the presence of such a force would make a major difference is hard to determine.
since there are other domestic and regional factors that affect the situation. however, the absence of these forces in afghanistan would definitely have an adverse impact on regional stability. the presence of u.s. forces in afghanistan sends a strong message to friends and foes that afghanistan is not going to be abandon ed and the united state is still committed to help afghanistan. having said this, the impact of the u.s. forces along with some 4,000 nato troops which are expected to stay in afghanistan depends on their size, their mission and their rules of engagement. the current nato resolute support mission focuses on training, advising and assisting of afghan forces, at core and ministerial levels in advise and
assist commands located in north, south, and west with a central hub in kabul. the united states leads in two of these commands, plus providing tactical advising to the afghan special security forces in the afghan air force. the ratio to force -- the ratio of force to region in uneven capabilities of different regional commands is causing capacity shortfalls to help nds or afghan security forces, narrow their key capability gaps particularly in aviation, intelligence, special forces and logistics. further, there are uncertainties in the rules of engagement. the nato partners see their combat role indeed ended last year even as they support the afghan common troops who often get engaged in fighting.
the development of thexi0 afgha national defense and security forces cannot happen in a voacum but depends on the development and progress of other areas of institution building in afghanistan including the rule of law. there is a strong need for the afghan unity government to take effective measures to fight corruption, nepotism and political factionalization within the afghan national defense and security forces. the afghan government faces an enormous challenge to forge political consensus, to implement reforms, to improve governments and ensure unified leadership. it should make extra effort to meet the competing demands of maintaining unity and governing effectively. to conclude, prospect for stability and peace in afghanistan are influenced by three main factors. viability and effectiveness of the afghan government.
the capacity of afghanistan national defense andsp securit forces to degrade the taliban power in cooperation from pakistan through improved afghan/pakistan relations. the first two factors deny the taliban hope to overthrow the afghan government, changeing their -- and bringing them to the negotiating table. while the third factor facilitate and speeds up reconciliation and reduction of violence in afghanistan. thank you very much. >> thank you, sir. >> chairman corker, ranking member cardin, and honorable members of the committee. talk for the opportunity to appear before you today and your continued interest in afghanistan. as a civil society organization, dedicated to ending theq3á0m ne between corruption and conflict, especially in the natural resource sector, global witness has worked in afghanistan since 2011 traveling regularly to work
in the country with our local civil society partners, the afghan government and international donors to build momentum for governance reforms. as one of the leading countercorruption organizations operating there we were offinvi to meet with president ghani to discuss government reform. corruption remains an existential threat to the afghan state. much hope has been placed in the national unity government and there have been some early countercorruption victories. fct president ghani has set up a procurement board and personally veview reviews all contracts over $1 million. the senior government have now declared their financial assets but the view from the ground is that corruption continues to grow in response to political stagnation, rising insecurity and economic decline. while the afghan government has publicized important counterc