Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) welcomed the recent announcement from Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller reducing military personnel in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by January 15, 2021.
“After nearly two decades of war, it is profoundly clear that war is not, and never has been, the answer to the situation in Afghanistan,” said FCNL General Secretary Diane Randall. “We must bring this war to a responsible close and provide the Afghan people with the necessary support needed to achieve a stable, peaceful, and just future.”
Under the agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban on February 29, 2020, the Trump administration agreed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by April 2021. The agreement also required the Taliban to engage in intra-Afghan peace talks with the Afghan government, which began on September 12, 2020. However, these agreements have stalled amid increased Taliban violence. In October alone, at least 369 pro-government forces and 212 civilians were killed in Taliban attacks.
“We have learned the hard way that there is no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan,” said Heather Brandon-Smith, FCNL legislative director for militarism and human rights. “The administration must ensure this drawdown is conducted responsibly to improve chances for a stable peace. This means urging a comprehensive ceasefire and providing robust support for the intra-Afghan peace talks, including prioritizing the meaningful inclusion of women, youth, and minorities.”
FCNL advocates for the responsible military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which includes full military withdrawal, increased bilateral and multilateral diplomatic efforts, support for long-term Afghan-led development solutions, and the demilitarization of counterterrorism operations.