CARLISLE, PA – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today gave a speech about the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan at the U.S. Army War College (USAWC). He highlighted several challenges facing the U.S. in Afghanistan: corruption in the Afghan government, training the Afghan National Army and the importance of development initiatives. He also highlighted his work on the international effort to address the threat posed by ammonium nitrate, the key ingredient used in improvised explosive devices (IEDs). He was joined by officers and students from the Army War College and local officials.
In the speech, Senator Casey addressed the fight against corruption, development efforts and training of the Afghan national army and police.
“Severe corruption has nationwide implications and could serve to undermine the totality of our effort in Afghanistan. Our troops are fighting and dying to help extend the reach of the Afghan government outside of Kabul, to show the Afghan people that its government has a monopoly on the use of force and is capable of providing goods and services to its people. I will put this very simply: we cannot be complicit in helping extend the reach of a corrupt government. Full stop.”
“While have made progress in training the ANA over the past year, I have serious concerns that training is not happening fast enough. This is an urgent mission. The sooner that Afghanistan can develop a sound military infrastructure, especially a competent officer corps, it will lessen the burden on international forces operating in the country. But equally as important, it will result in an institution that the Afghan people can rally around. It will help to build solidarity among the Afghan people and confidence that the government is capable of developing the key institutions of the state.”
Senator Casey also discussed his work on the international effort to address the threat posed by ammonium nitrate, the key ingredient used in IEDs. IEDs are the biggest killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“I cannot overemphasize the urgency of this issue. Pakistan’s leaders must do everything in their power to ensure that ammonium nitrate and other precursor ingredients are well regulated in Pakistan and not transported into Afghanistan for illicit use.”
In January 2010, the Afghan government banned the use of and manufacture of ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer. However, ammonium nitrate continues to flow into Afghanistan from Pakistan, Central Asian countries and Iran.
Earlier this year, Senator Casey worked with his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee to include language in the foreign operations appropriations bill which would direct the Secretary of State to submit a report detailing steps taken by the U.S. Government to help stem the proliferation and transport of ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan.
Senator Casey also sponsored a resolution which passed the Senate that called for increased support to combat ammonium nitrate and an increased effort and focus by the Governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries to effectively monitor and regulate the manufacture, sale, transport and use of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.