Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement after the President announced his plan for U.S. military presence in Afghanistan post-2014:
“I have continued to say that we must end our involvement in the war in Afghanistan as soon as we responsibly can. Redeploying the vast majority of our troops, but maintaining an initial presence of 9,800 military personnel to continue training the Afghan forces and to support operations against Al Qaeda is a responsible path forward. As we move through 2015 and 2016, troop levels will continue to decrease and reflect a more normal embassy presence.
“We cannot and should not continue to maintain a large presence in Afghanistan forever, but we also cannot overlook our national security interest in the region. The announcement today demonstrates that the President understands this balance. The Afghan Government must now sign the Bilateral Security Agreement so the plan can take hold. Otherwise, our options moving forward will be vastly more difficult.
“I applaud the Administration for following through on its goal of responsibly reducing our active involvement in Afghanistan. There will be other decisions to be made in the future about our assistance to the Afghan government, but the American people have paid a significant price in this conflict and it is time that we allow the Afghan people to take responsibility for their own future.”