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Afghanistan War Commission to be established by Congress
Do you support or oppose the establishment of the Afghanistan War Commission?
Written by Eric Revell, Countable News
What’s the story?
- The federal government is poised to undertake a first-of-its-kind review of the war in Afghanistan after Congress passed legislation establishing an independent commission to conduct it.
- Congress passed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 this month with votes of 363-70 in the House and 89-10 in the Senate. It reached President Joe Biden’s desk on December 23rd and will soon become law.
- Aside from authorizing spending levels for the Dept. of Defense’s various programs, the NDAA sets defense policies and this year’s edition included a bipartisan provision to establish the commission.
- The independent Afghanistan War Commission will be tasked with reviewing the entirety of the U.S. and NATO presence in Afghanistan. It will also review the years of Taliban control prior to 2001, when the U.S. intervened to root out al Qaeda following the 9/11 terror attacks that were plotted in Afghanistan, and the coalition’s withdrawal in 2021.
- The commission will examine key strategic, diplomatic, and operational decisions related to the war in Afghanistan, including decisions, assessments, and events that preceded the war. It will also develop lessons learned and recommendations that will inform future decisions by policymakers.
- It will be composed of 16 members appointed by the party leaders in each chamber and the bipartisan leadership of the armed services, foreign relations, and intelligence committees. Current members of Congress and those who served in office during the war in Afghanistan, senior military officers and cabinet officials who served during the war, defense contractors, and individuals who previously investigated Afghanistan war policy would be ineligible to serve on the commission.
- The commission will submit a progress report to Congress within one year of its first meeting and will submit a final report within three years of the initial meeting, although it can obtain a one-year extension with permission from the bipartisan leadership of the relevant congressional committees. Reports on declassification of materials in the report will be required within four years of its submission.
- The bipartisan architects of the commission in the Senate, Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Todd Young (R-IN), praised its inclusion in the FY2022 NDAA.
- Duckworth said in a statement that, “Congress owes the thousands of American servicemembers who sacrificed in Afghanistan a serious, honest and long-term effort devoted to bringing accountability and transparency to the mistakes made during the 20-year war that was shaped by four administrations and 11 Congresses.”
- Young told the Military Times in an email:
“Working through this commission, we must also understand what led to the sudden collapse of the Afghan government following our disastrous withdrawal. This will examine what went right, what went wrong, and hold those responsible for their actions.”
- How Many Americans and Afghan Allies Were Left Behind in Taliban Territory? (Updated 12/16/21)
- What is the Over-the-Horizon Counterterrorism Strategy for Afghanistan? (11/13/21)
- Taliban Rejects U.S. Cooperation Against ISIS-K in Afghanistan (10/14/21)
- Defense Chiefs’ Testimony Contradicts President Biden’s Claim That No Military Advisors Warned Against Afghanistan Withdrawal (9/28/21)
- Taliban Announces Gov’t Including U.S.-Designated Terrorists, 4 of ‘Taliban 5’ Released From Guantanamo Bay (9/8/21)
- What is the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program?
- U.S. Ends War in Afghanistan, Concludes Military Evacuation From Kabul: ‘We Did Not Get Out Everybody We Wanted to Get Out’ (8/30/21)
- Kabul Evacuation Overview (8/15 - 8/30/21)
- Pentagon Releases Names of the 13 American Servicemembers Killed in the Kabul Terror Attack (8/30/21)
- Bipartisan Lawmakers & NATO Allies Urge Extension of August 31st Withdrawal Deadline to Ensure Evacuation of Afghan Allies (8/24/21)
- America’s NATO Allies Criticize Afghanistan Withdrawal - ‘Biggest Debacle NATO Has Suffered’ (8/23/21)
- President Biden Takes Questions on the Fall of Afghanistan, Evacuation From Kabul (8/21/21)
- National Security Officials Warn of Renewed Terrorism Threat From Afghanistan Following Taliban Takeover (8/19/21)
- Biden Moves Up Afghanistan Withdrawal Date From September 11th to August 31st (7/9/21)
- U.S. Military Withdraws From Bagram Air Base as Afghanistan Drawdown Continues (7/3/21)
- Biden Sets September 11th Withdrawal Date From Afghanistan, Drawing Bipartisan Criticism (4/14/21)
- Defense Chief Announce Plan to Implement President Trump’s Troop Drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq (11/17/20)
(Photo Credit: DOD photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Gipe, U.S. Army via Flickr / Public Domain)
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