Hare: Afghanistan at Risk of Falling Back Into the Hands of Terrorists
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today voted for the Afghanistan Freedom and Security Support Act, a bill that provides additional funding for economic and security assistance programs in Afghanistan for the next three years and establishes a coordinator to tackle the growing threat of narcotics.
"When America took military action in Afghanistan nearly six years ago, it did so with a commitment not only to bring those responsible for the September 11th attacks to justice, but also to help rebuild a war-torn country so people could live in peace and security," Hare said. "Despite making significant progress due to the courageous and skilled actions of American and Afghani forces, Afghanistan is now in danger of suffering a relapse."
This bill represents the single largest amount of authorized funding for Afghanistan in U.S. history ($6.4 billion). It requires the Bush Administration to submit a report to Congress describing a large range of political, economic development, security, and counter-narcotics performance goals and progress.
It further mandates a cutoff of U.S. assistance to local or provincial governments where there is credible evidence that officials have links to terrorist activities or the drug trade.
"The Administration's narrow focus on Iraq has caused them to take their eye off the ball in Afghanistan," Hare added. "More than half a decade after the United States removed the Taliban and al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, the country is at risk of falling back into the hands of terrorists."
Poppy and opium cultivation has grown at a disturbing pace in Afghanistan, with much of the profits funding the very insurgents and terrorist organizations that are attacking U.S. soldiers, NATO troops, Afghanis, and international assistance workers. "This legislation would appoint a counter-narcotics coordinator to quickly get the situation under control," Hare said. "We cannot allow Afghanistan to once again become a safe haven for those that would cause us harm."