1. Update
  2. U.S. Wars & Militarism

New Bill Would Require U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan Within One Year

By Emmet Hollingshead, March 4, 2019

On March 4, Sens. Rand Paul (KY) and Tom Udall (NM) introduced legislation that would require the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan within one year.

Called the “American Forces Going Home After Noble Service Act” or the “AFGHAN Service Act,” the legislation would also repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which authorized the war in Afghanistan more than 17 years ago. FCNL welcomes Sen. Paul’s effort to end the longest war in U.S. history.

FCNL believes the time has come for a full and permanent withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. We will continue to encourage all the parties inside Afghanistan and around the region to lay the groundwork for a durable peace. But we will not condition the departure of our troops upon reaching a negotiated settlement.

U.S. Army Spc. Jason Bruno secures an area during an assessment of the local bazaar in the Shah Joy district of Zabul province, Afghanistan, on Dec. 7, 2011. Bruno is a rifleman assigned to Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul.

U.S. Army Spc. Jason Brunoin in the Shah Joy district of Zabul province, Afghanistan, on Dec. 7, 2011. DoD/Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras, U.S. Air Force

According to recent polls, a majority of Americans share Sen. Paul’s belief that after more than 17 years, it is time to end the war in Afghanistan, which has killed 150,000 people and cost U.S. taxpayers close to $1 trillion.

Sens. Paul and Udall’s bill would require the Secretary of Defense to develop, and report to Congress, a plan to withdraw all U.S. armed forces from Afghanistan within a year. The Secretary would also be required to formulate a plan for reconciliation and democratic elections in Afghanistan. After either the full withdrawal of all U.S. troops or 395 days (whichever is earlier), Sen. Paul’s bill would repeal the 2001 AUMF.

As multiple U.S. military officials have stated, there is no military solution in Afghanistan. Finding peace in the country will require a strong commitment to diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, and development. That is why FCNL supports the State Department and the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation in their efforts to advance peace talks.

Despite increased civilian casualties in 2018, prospects for peace in Afghanistan have been steadily improving. The responsible course is to end this war, undertake a full and permanent withdrawal of U.S. troops, and promote peace in Afghanistan.

Emmet Hollingshead

  • Program Assistant, Militarism and Human Rights

Emmet served as FCNL’s Program Assistant for Militarism and Human Rights for 2018-2019. He lobbied for more peaceful, ethical, and holistic U.S. foreign policy. Our international stance should not be based on military might, but on compassionate and inclusive leadership focused on mutual interests. To that end, Emmet worked with members of Congress and their staff, fellow peace activists, and grassroots supporters to develop better ways for the U.S. to engage with the world.