Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Chairman of Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental Protection chaired a hearing today on the future of U.S. development assistance in Afghanistan entitled “Afghanistan: Right Sizing the Development Footprint.”
“The State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) face significant challenges as they continue efforts to help the Afghan people build a more independent, accountable and self-sustaining society during their transition to self governance after decades of war and lawlessness. Afghanistan is one of our largest recipients of foreign aid and the effectiveness of that aid should be tied to the effectiveness of the Afghan government to battle corruption, ensure sustainability and promote women’s equality in society.
“I have repeatedly urged the Administration to hasten the departure of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan where they have been asked to fulfill a role better left to the Afghans. As the drawdown does occur, our military footprint will shrink and our civilian development footprint will become even more important. These new responsibilities require oversight and scalability, so that they can actually achieve the goals for which they were developed. The economic burdens currently challenging the U.S. reinforce the need to ensure that every American taxpayer dollar spent in Afghanistan goes toward development projects that are necessary, sustainable and achievable. I look forward to working with the State Department and USAID to make sure that the American taxpayers dollars are spent wisely and with ever greater accountability.
“Development aid is a powerful national security tool that secures and strengthen societies. It is critical we have a strategy in Afghanistan that utilizes U.S. aid in as smart a manner as possible. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues on a robust program of oversight and guidance to achieve our goals for Afghanistan and the region.”