WASHINGTON, DC – After President Trump’s speech on Afghanistan, U.S.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,
issued the following statement:

“It has been over two months since Secretary Mattis acknowledged to Congress ‘we
have entered a strategy-free time’ in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the President’s
speech tonight was short on the details our troops and the American people deserve.

“President Trump now recognizes the need to stabilize the situation and assist the
government of Afghanistan to regain momentum. But he was very vague.

“The repeated delays and mixed messages President Trump has sent regarding the U.S.
commitment to stability and security in Afghanistan have harmed our credibility with
our Afghan partners, NATO coalition members, and other countries.

“In order to stabilize Afghanistan, President Trump needs to focus more attention
and resources on diplomatic efforts. The State Department is understaffed and
underutilized and President Trump wants to slash its budget and foreign aid further.
That won’t help Afghanistan’s government take the difficult but necessary steps
toward reforming their institutions, strengthening the rule of law, and stamping out
corruption.

“It is imperative for the United States to work with our partners to boost
diplomacy, maintain international cooperation, and take a comprehensive, regional
approach to Afghanistan. President Trump correctly pointed out that Pakistan needs
to play a more constructive role, with the cessation of support for all terrorist
and insurgent groups at the forefront. But he also seemed to ratchet up tensions
between Pakistan and India which can only serve to negatively impact stability in
the region.

“I know Americans are weary of the war in Afghanistan. President Trump has a duty
to set a clear strategy for Afghanistan. Tonight’s speech is a long overdue step,
but more important will be the details and an accompanying commitment by this
President going forward.”