Chairman Lynch To Hold Hearing On U.S. Mission In Afghanistan

Apr 2, 2019 Issues: Afghanistan and Pakistan, Committee on Oversight and Reform

Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, will hold the Subcommittee’s first public hearing on Afghanistan since November 2017, and will be the first since Lynch became Chairman in February. The hearing will focus on the “Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) 2019 High-Risk List” which highlights U.S. efforts in Afghanistan that are highly-vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse, including the critical capability gaps facing the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).  It will also seek to clarify the Trump administration’s overall strategy in Afghanistan and examine the new policy of denying public access to data pertaining to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, including ANDSF casualty numbers, attrition rates and recruitment shortfalls.

The hearing will be held at 2:00pm and is open to the public; a livestream will be broadcast here

BACKGROUND

  • On March 28, 2019, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued SIGAR’s “2019 High-Risk List.”
  • The report identifies eight high-risk program areas in the more than $132 billion U.S. effort to rebuild Afghanistan that are particularly vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and mission-failure. 
  • The areas include widening insecurity in the country, the critical capability gaps in the Afghan security forces, threats to women’s rights, the potential reintegration of Taliban combatants, and restrictions on independent oversight.
  • SIGAR reports that risks to these areas could persist or be exacerbated following a so-called peace deal in Afghanistan.  
  • Beginning in 2017, the Department of Defense implemented a policy to classify Afghanistan data, including Afghan security forces casualty figures and other measurements of Afghan government progress that SIGAR has included in its public reports for years. 
  • In 2017, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, requested an immediate reversal of the policy to deny public access to SIGAR reports.

WITNESS

The Honorable John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 

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