Udall, Paul Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End War in Afghanistan and Bring Troops Home
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Raul Paul (R-Ky.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the 2019 American Forces Going Home After Noble (AFGHAN) Service Act to end America’s longest war, honor the volunteers who bravely serve our nation by providing bonuses to those who have deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism, and redirect the savings from ending the war in Afghanistan to America’s needs at home.
Though American troops achieved what they were sent to carry out in October 2001, the mission shift to nation-building has kept our forces in Afghanistan over 17 years later. Over 2,300 military members have sacrificed their lives in the war, with another 20,000 wounded in action. In addition, the Afghanistan war has cost the United States $2 trillion, with the war currently costing over $51 billion a year.
“Soon, U.S. service members will begin deploying to Afghanistan to fight in a war that began before they were born. As we face this watershed moment, it’s past time to change our approach to the longest war in our country’s history,” said Udall. “Our armed forces in Afghanistan, including many from New Mexico, have served with exceptional valor and effectiveness in the face of extraordinary challenges. After expelling the Taliban from power and dismantling Al Qaeda’s base of power in Afghanistan, they enabled a new Afghan government to be formed while also eliminating Osama Bin Laden. But it is Congress that has failed to conduct the proper oversight of this nearly 18-year war. Now, we must step up, and listen to the American people -- who rightly question the wisdom of such endless wars. This bipartisan resolution would bring our troops home at long last, while implementing a framework for reconciliation.”
“Endless war weakens our national security, robs this and future generations through skyrocketing debt, and creates more enemies to threaten us. For over 17 years, our soldiers have gone above and beyond what has been asked of them in Afghanistan. It is time to declare the victory we achieved long ago, bring them home, and put America’s needs first,” said Paul.
The 2019 AFGHAN Service Act:
— Declares victory in Afghanistan. The masterminds of the 9/11 attack are no longer capable of carrying out such an attack from Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011, and Al Qaeda has been all but eliminated from Afghanistan.
— Pays, within one year, a $2,500 bonus to all members of the military who have served in the Global War on Terrorism. Since 2001, more than 3,002,635 men and women have deployed overseas in support of this effort. This would be a one-time cost of approximately $7 billion and an immediate savings of over 83% when compared to the current yearly costs. The $51 billion a year can be redirected to domestic priorities. Additionally, there is precedent for service bonuses going back to the Revolutionary War.
— Sets guidelines for withdrawal. Within 45 days, a plan will be formulated for an orderly withdrawal and turnover of facilities to the Afghan Government, while also setting a framework for political reconciliation to be implemented by Afghans in accordance with the Afghan Constitution. Within a year, all U.S. forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. At the completion of withdrawal, the 2001 AUMF will be repealed.
The full text of the legislation is available HERE.
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