By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, May 18, 2017, US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) spoke on the floor of the US House of Representatives and said that President Trump (R) and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are wise to reevaluate American troop levels and the rules of engagement in Afghanistan.
Congresswoman Roby recently led a bi-partisan Congressional Delegation to the region to survey conditions there.
Rep. Roby said, “I rise to offer a report on my recent travels to Afghanistan where our Armed Forces remain engaged at a critical front of the Global War on Terrorism. I have been a part of several Congressional Delegations to Afghanistan to survey conditions there, particularly as it concerns the progress being made by Afghan women and girls to attain equal rights. I was honored to once again lead a delegation of my colleagues to the region to conduct oversight of American operations and better inform our efforts here in Congress to fulfill our Constitutional responsibility to fund and support the military.”
Roby continued, “It has been more than fifteen years since American and allied forces invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime and stamp out the terrorist breeding ground it harbored. There is no question in my mind that our country is safer and the world is freer because of the work our military has done and continues to do in Afghanistan. That’s an important truth I’m reminded of in a powerful way each time I visit, and I am compelled to share it with my colleagues here in Congress.”
Roby said, “I’ve said for years that an important test for our success in Afghanistan going forward is the preservation of the gains made by women and girls. Having observed the treatment of women and girls over many years now, I can tell you that the progress today is as fragile as ever.”
Roby said, “There is good news. New laws criminalize violence toward women and offer them unprecedented legal protections. Girls are attending school and going to college. Women are working in government, serving in the military, and even running for office. There is an Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce that specifically works to see that women are incorporated in the nation’s economic future. Centuries of repression are being reversed, and a new generation of women that expects and demands basic rights is taking hold.”
Rep. Roby said, “During our visit, our delegation was honored to meet with Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani and many other women leaders. We discussed the opportunities now available to Afghan women that weren’t conceivable fifteen years ago under the Taliban. And, most importantly, they explained just how critical these gains are to the overall stability of Afghanistan.”
Rep. Roby admitted however, “While it is certainly encouraging to listen to these remarkable stories of hope and progress, there exists a deep concern among Afghan women about seeing these important gains backslide and their rights erode. In fact, in some areas of the country, this is already happening.”
Rep. Roby warned, “The Taliban’s resurgence amid the drawdown of coalition forces presents a major threat that we must acknowledge.” “We cannot allow this to happen. We cannot allow the gains we’ve made in Afghanistan to fall by the wayside.” “We know all too well what can happen when radical, oppressive ideologies are allowed to fester in hostile nations. Make no mistake: because freedom and fairness for Afghan women is essential to the security of their country, it is also crucial to our own. That’s why I am pleased that President Trump is reviewing our strategy in Afghanistan, including a reevaluation of troop levels and our rules of engagement. Simply put, if we’re going to be in Afghanistan, we need to be willing to do what it takes to succeed. Of course, the Afghan people must take the reins of their country’s future, but the United States will play a key role in ensuring a lasting peace.”
US troops have been fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2001. This is by far the longest campaign in US Military history.
American military commanders have been critical of some of the rules of engagement imposed on them by the Obama Administration as well as the ten thousand troops cap that President Obama set. US combat forces are also active in Syria and Iraq supporting Syrian insurgents as well as the Iraqi Army in the war on ISIS.
Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District.