This week, freshman Rep. Michael Waltz joined fellow Republican members of Congress, Elise Stefanik, Liz Cheney and Jim Banks, to introduce the “Ensuring a Secure Afghanistan Act.” What the legislation specifies is a list of requirements that will be met before troop levels can reach a number below 10,000 in Afghanistan.
All four Republicans are members of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Waltz is a former Green Beret who served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and was also a counter-terrorism advisor in the White House for then-Vice President Dick Cheney.
Waltz spoke about his support for the legislation, commenting that his time in Afghanistan greatly informed him on the destabilizing threat that the Taliban pose there.” Furthermore, “with our Afghan allies not yet prepared to defend themselves and over half of the world’s terrorist organizations currently residing on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the stakes are simply too high to take the Taliban at their word.”
Waltz asserted that “we must stay on offense and negotiate from a position of strength.” And, noting that “while we all hope for peace in Afghanistan, any deal must include denouncing Al Qaeda and terrorism, assuring girls’ access to education and healthcare, and recognizing the legitimacy of the Afghan constitution.”
So, “the Ensuring a Secure Afghanistan Act” provides necessary oversight over the current negotiations and sets benchmarks for any major U.S. reductions of military force.”
Cheney also commented on the need for the legislation, noting that “the American homeland is endangered when Afghanistan is used as a safe haven for terrorism.” She further added that “we saw the consequences of prematurely withdrawing troops from Iraq under President Obama and we cannot make that mistake in Afghanistan.” However, Cheney concluded that “we don’t win wars by leaving.”
She further asserts that “U.S. troops must continue the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan in support of their ultimate mission: keeping America safe.”