US Congressional Hearing: Options for reconciliation in Afghanistan

Options for reconciliation in Afghanistan

By Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), The Hill's Congress Blog, July 27, 2010
This morning, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) chaired a hearing on Afghanistan. This is the Committee’s twelfth oversight hearing on U.S. policy toward Afghanistan in the past year and a half. Below are his opening remarks as delivered:

I would like to make a few opening comments and then we’ll proceed with each of the other witnesses. Let me begin by thanking you for coming today to talk to the Committee. I think you can see from the membership today that this is obviously an important issue to the country and to the Congress. There are a lot of questions, which is entirely appropriate. Today’s hearing is really to try and focus on the issue of reconciliation and see what role that might play in achieving a political solution in the end. And I think we have a very thoughtful panel to consider those issues.

I might just comment that this is the twelfth hearing of the Committee on Afghanistan in the past eighteen months. And it reflects our recognition of the critical role this issue plays, the unbelievable expense of human treasure of our sons and daughters, and the monetary cost, which is also enormous.

I want to say a couple of words about the leaked documents on Afghanistan and Pakistan yesterday. I think it is important to not overhype or get excessively excited about the meaning of those documents. Certainly to those of us that lived through the Pentagon papers and a different period, there is no relationship whatsoever to that event or to those documents. In fact, these documents in many cases reflect a very different pattern of involvement by the U.S. government from that period of time.

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