By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
In her weekly column, Congresswoman Roby (R) from Montgomery said that the Congress have been told by the military leadership and the Obama Administration that “that coalition and Afghan forces remain strong and are working toward completing their mission on the established timeline.”
Congresswoman Roby said that last week she participated “in a committee hearing with General John Allen, USMC Commander of International Security Assistance Force and Dr. James N. Miller, Jr., the Acting Under Secretary of Defense and Principal Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Department of Defense.”
Congresswoman Roby said “their detailed testimony demonstrated that coalition and Afghan forces remain strong and are working toward completing their mission on the established timeline—a fact not widely discussed in the media. The military is in the process of bringing down U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan from about 100,000 to 68,000.”
This assessment is based on new data that the military shared with the Congress about our operations in Afghanistan. The national security leadership team did admit that this does come “in the wake of two troubling incidents involving U.S. troops.” “Gen. Allen and Dr. Miller testified that, despite significant progress, there remains a great deal of work to be done before U.S. troops are fully withdrawn. Neither leader supported accelerating the troop withdrawal at this time.”
Congresswoman Roby said in her statement, “I am honored to serve as a member on the House Armed Services Committee, which allows me to shape defense policies that affect our nation and our district.”
The “two troubling incidents” referred to in the hearings in Afghanistan were the murder of 17 Afghan villagers allegedly by Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry. Sergeant Bales has also been accused of six counts of assault and attempted murder in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province earlier this month. He is being held in Leavenworth, Kansas. Two American soldiers were killed by an Afghan security forces ally when Afghans rioted following the burning of Korans that prisoners had used to write extremist messages in.
To this point there have been 2,846 coalition deaths in Afghanistan. Of those 1,827 have been Americans, 407 were British, Canada has lost 158, France: 82, Germany: 56, Italy: 50, Denmark: 42, Poland: 37, Spain: 34, Australia: 32, the Netherlands: 25, Romania: 19, Georgia: 15, Turkey: 14, Norway: 10, Estonia: 9, Hungary: 7, Sweden: 5, Czech Republic: 5, New Zealand: 4, Latvia: 3, Finland: 2, Jordan: 2, Portugal: 2, South Korea: 2, and Albania, Belgium, and Lithuania have all lost one soldier. This total includes soldiers killed in Pakistan and Uzbekistan but does not include 31 Americans and one Candian who were killed in other countries while in operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. It also does not include 62 Spanish soldiers killed when their plane crashed coming home from Afghanistan. An increasing number of the allied casualties have come from improvised explosive devices. Most of the American casualties have occurred in Afghanistan during President Barack Obama’s administration as the war has intensified.
The first coalition soldier killed in Afghanistan was CIA operative U.S. Marine Corps Captain and Alabama native Johnny Michael Spann from Winfield. Spann was posthumously awarded the Intelligence Star (the equivalent of the military’s Silver Star) and is buried in Arlington.
The War in Afghanistan began after Al Qaeda which was based in that country launched devastating terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
Congresswoman Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District.
To see all of Congresswoman Roby’s column