Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, June 18, 2003

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Hyde Schedules Afghanistan Hearing
Questions on reconstruction efforts, security issues

BACKGROUND: More than 18 months after the collapse of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, violence, threats of violence, and what appears to be a slow reconstruction process are undermining the central authority of the Karzai government as it seeks to rebuild a viable and independent nation-state. In November 2002, Congress enacted the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act (AFSA), a four-year, $3.3 billion U.S. assistance program to guide U.S. participation in reconstruction efforts. The Karzai government—with assistance from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Afghan National Army (ANA)—controls limited territory surrounding Kabul, the nation's capital. The continuing influence of local warlords and their desire to maintain their militias has prevented the integration of those forces into the ANA or their demobilization. Other, smaller militias have been either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order, which is hindering donors and NGOs from undertaking needed relief and reconstruction activities outside Kabul. The fragile security situation also discourages commercial activity. Home invasions are common, involving rape, kidnaping and the theft of property. Opium production in Afghanistan, which supplies most of Europe's heroin and is a terrorist-funding source, is increasing in areas of the country bordering Iran.

WHAT: Full committee oversight hearing, United States Policy in Afghanistan: Current Issues in Reconstruction

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Thursday, June 19, 2003

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:
    Panel I
: Ambassador Peter Tomsen, former Special Envoy to Afghanistan; Barnett R. Rubin, Ph.D., Director of Studies and Senior Fellow, Center on International Cooperation, New York University; Bernard Frahi, Chief Operations Branch, Division for Operations and Analysis, United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention; Larry P. Goodson, Ph.D., Professor of Middle East Studies, Department of National Security and Strategy, United States Army War College; and
    Panel II: Norman C. Leatherwood, Executive Director, Shelter for Life, International; John Sifton, Afghanistan Researcher, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch; M. Hasan Nouri, P.E., Chairman, International Orphan Care.

Questions to be raised during this hearing:

bulletHow secure is the U.S. military victory in Afghanistan? Is peace sustainable?
 
bulletWhat is the assessment of humanitarian and reconstruction efforts so far?
 
bulletShould ISAF extend its security perimeter beyond Kabul and deploy troops throughout Afghanistan to solve continuing security problems?
 
bulletHow have attacks on international aid workers affected the reconstruction process?
 
bulletHow would you assess progress in building the Afghan National Army thus far?
 
bulletHow much progress is being made on poppy eradication?
 
bulletHow well is U.S. policy coordinated within the U.S. government?

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