WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the Promoting Peace and Justice in Afghanistan Act of 2017 Thursday, legislation to boost the United States’ engagement in achieving a just, sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
“The United States needs to center its engagement in Afghanistan around a bold, renewed effort to forge a negotiated political settlement and an accountable Afghan government that can deliver to its citizens the just, sustainable peace they deserve,” Senator Cardin said. “Working diligently toward these ends, with Afghan and regional actors, is the best way to bring America’s longest war to an honorable, effective end and to ensure that Afghan territory is never again used as a base for terrorism against the United States or our allies.”
“As has often been said, it is harder to make peace than war. The role of the State Department is particularly critical in the diplomacy and negotiation necessary to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan, as well as in helping the Afghan government become more accountable and capable of upholding the rule of law,” Cardin added. “Accordingly, I have introduced legislation that would boost U.S. diplomatic and programmatic engagement on a peace process, as well as on the hard work of pursuing justice for wartime atrocities and accountability for human rights abuses and corruption by Afghan officials that continue to undermine prospects for peace.”
- Requires the President to submit his strategy for engagement in Afghanistan, including how a negotiated political settlement to the conflict will be pursued, conditions for U.S. troop withdrawal, and efforts to support accountability for human rights abuses and corruption in Afghanistan;
- Authorizes funding to support citizens’ input into the peace process and address transitional justice and accountability for wartime atrocities, as well as to strengthen oversight and accountability within the Afghan government and its capacity prosecute human rights abuses and corruption, particularly by government actors;
- Requires the Trump Administration to report on U.S. engagement in support of a peace agreement and transitional justice, as well as on progress to mitigate corruption, human rights abuses, and civilian casualties committed by Afghan security forces; and, notably
- Prohibits U.S. government agencies from employing private security contractors in combat roles in Afghanistan and emphasizes assistance mechanisms that incentivize the release of on-budget support to the Afghan government based on its progress on reforms.