In December 2009, President Obama announced his new strategy for Afghanistan, with the goals of preventing al Qaeda from using the region to launch future attacks against the United States and bringing greater stability to Afghanistan. This strategy includes the deployment of 30,000 additional American forces, which will bring the U.S. troop presence to almost 100,000. Congressman Lynch believes that this is an important and necessary initiative, particularly since the first eight years of U.S. operations in Afghanistan were severely under-resourced and not given the priority needed to be successful.
Congressman Lynch understands that there is some skepticism about committing additional forces and funding to these operations, but feels that this new strategy needs to be given a chance to work. Having been to Afghanistan five times, where he has met with Afghan political leaders and U.S. military leaders and soldiers, he has a keen understanding of the conditions on the ground and the risks of a premature withdrawal of troops. Doing so in the wrong way or at the wrong time creates the possibility that terrorists may regain a safe haven in Afghanistan which can lead to greater regional instability and potential for future terrorist attacks on the United States and its allies.
While Congressman Lynch supports the new strategy, he is also committed to ensuring that our presence not be open-ended and that our support not be in the form of a blank check. So long as American personnel are in Afghanistan there must be stringent accountability, both in American efforts, as well as those of the Afghan leadership. As a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs, the Congressman will continue to travel to the region and follow closely U.S. and Afghan activities to ensure that we are there only so long as is necessary and that all operations are as effective as possible.
Congressman Lynch believes that the United States must continue to address the important role Pakistan plays in the stability of Afghanistan. He is encouraged that Pakistan's armed forces are now taking on the threat posed by the Afghan Taliban and expects them to make greater efforts against the Pakistan Taliban as well. The increased cooperation between Pakistan's security forces and the United States is also an important development which has led to critical breakthroughs, such as the arrest of Afghan Taliban. Military Chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Congressman Lynch supports U.S. efforts to assist Pakistan with the development it needs to become more stable and democratic. To that end, he voted in favor of H.R. 1886, the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2009, which increased non-military assistance to $1.5 billion a year for the next four years to fortify democratic institutions and support sustainable social and economic development in Pakistan that will allow it to defeat extremists. The Congressman strongly supports the Act's provisions for strong monitoring and evaluation that will allow the United States to be certain that Pakistan is doing its part.