US Subcommittee Examined Strategy in Afghanistan with Afghanistan Study Group

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the US Subcommittee on National Security, held a hearing on Friday to examine the final report released by the Afghanistan Study Group (ASG), which Congress established in December 2019 to “consider the implications of a peace settlement, or the failure to reach a settlement, on U.S. policy, resources, and commitments in Afghanistan.”

“Nearly 20 years of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan might very well be defined by the next three to six months—likely with profound consequences for U.S. national security and the future stability of the region,” Subcommittee Chairman Lynch said in his opening statement.

The Subcommittee heard testimony from the three co-chairs of the Afghanistan Study Group:  Kelly A. Ayotte, General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. (Ret), and Nancy Lindborg.

At the hearing, Members discussed the many policy questions and strategic challenges facing the Biden administration as the May 1, 2021, deadline approaches for the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition forces from Afghanistan, as outlined in the February 2020 U.S.-Taliban agreement.

General Dunford, former Senator Ayotte, and Ms. Lindborg warned that a withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 U.S. servicemembers from Afghanistan in May 2021—as required by the Trump Administration’s February 2020 agreement with the Taliban—would result in “catastrophic” consequences for the security and stability of Afghanistan, including the potential resurgence of terrorist organizations that could threaten the U.S. homeland.

The Co-Chairs testified that it is in the national security interests of the United States for the Afghan Government and the Taliban to reach a sustainable and inclusive peace agreement that supports regional stability and protects the human rights of all Afghans, including women and girls.

All three witnesses testified that the United States should utilize diplomatic, civilian, and military lines of effort to help create meaningful political dialogue between the Afghan Government and the Taliban with the goal of eventual withdrawal of U.S. military forces.

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