Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation issued a new report today on the responsible way to wind down and finally end the 19-year war in Afghanistan. This report draws on extensive interviews with experts in diplomacy, crisis response and planning, military affairs, and state-building in Afghanistan.
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“As Quakers, we did not support the invasion of Afghanistan, nor do we support any war. After nearly twenty years of fighting, it is time to recognize that our occupation of Afghanistan has failed to achieve its intended purposes,” said FCNL General Secretary Diane Randall. “To bring this war to a responsible close, we must not only withdraw all foreign troops, but provide long-term diplomatic and economic support for peace.”
The full report, “Ending the Afghanistan War Responsibly,” is designed as a guide for Congress in ending the longest war fought by the United States. Copies of the report have been sent to all members of Congress.
Authored by Elizabeth Beavers along with FCNL’s Diana Ohlbaum, Shukria Dellawar, and Don Chen, the report features four issue briefs, an executive summary and frequently asked questions section. The briefs recommend a path for full military withdrawal, ramped-up bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, support for Afghan-led development, and the demilitarization of counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.
In February 2020, the United States signed an agreement with the Taliban paving the way for full withdrawal of all foreign troops. However, implementation of the accord has been marred by a spike in violence and the failure to complete prisoner exchanges stipulated in the agreement. A particularly gruesome attack last week on a Kabul maternity ward raises questions about the viability of the exit deal.
“Leaving troops in Afghanistan longer will not solve the problems that nearly 20 years of fighting have failed to address, and in many ways exacerbated. We must accept the limitations on our own ability to determine the outcomes there,” said Randall. “But we must also accept that the United States has the responsibility, as well as the diplomatic and economic leverage, to support the Afghan people in their effort to build a stable, secure, peaceful, and just future.”
Since it began in October 2001, the Afghanistan war has claimed approximately 157,000 lives, including more than 2,400 U.S. service members and 43,000 Afghan civilians. Counting veterans’ care and interest on the national debt, it has cost American taxpayers $2 trillion.
“Ending the Afghanistan War Responsibly” explains the steps Congress can take to promote a full withdrawal of our troops while reducing the harm to Afghan civilians and fostering an inclusive and sustainable peace.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.