Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Udall (D-NM) have introduced legislation to end the war in Afghanistan.
The 2019 American Forces Going Home After Noble (AFGHAN) Service Act would “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 nation-building in Afghanistan to America’s needs at home,” according to a press release from Senator Paul’s office.
The legislation would declare victory in Afghanistan and provide a $2,500 bonus to veterans of the war on terror. The AFGHAN Service Act would formulate a plan for orderly withdrawal within 45 days and have all US forces withdrawn from the nation within a year.
Additionally, it would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force upon completion of the withdrawal. The AUMF has been used to circumvent Congressional war powers since its declaration.
“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 Senator Paul.
The statement points out that though our troops have accomplished the intended goal of the war, the “mission shift to nation-building” has now kept our military in Afghanistan for over 17 years. It also explained that “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 Sen. 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.”