Bond Praises Obama for Pursuing Regional Strategy for Success in Afghanistan-Pakistan

Bond Praises Obama for Pursuing Regional Strategy for
Success in Afghanistan-Pakistan

Senator Supportive, but Cautions ‘Devil is in the
Details’

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the
Senate Intelligence Committee, today praised President Obama for launching a
comprehensive, regional strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

            “For too long we have had a failing strategy in
place,” said Bond.  “President Obama appears to be taking the right steps for
long-term success in this critical region.” 

Bond has been sounding the alarm
about our nation’s failed strategy for the Afghanistan-Pakistan region for
years.  While praising the dedication of our troops, intelligence and State
Department officials on the ground for doing good things on their own, Bond
stressed that there has been no comprehensive strategy weaving their efforts
together into a successful mission. 

Immediately following last year’s
Presidential election, Bond sent President-elect Obama and the members of his
national security team his own report outlining the path forward for
Pakistan-Afghanistan that urged the incoming Administration to embrace a new and
comprehensive, regional approach to the region.  Key to Bond’s plan for
long-term success was setting and articulating a set of clearly defined goals. 
Bond told Obama that to implement this strategy he should appoint and support a
Washington-based Special Coordinator.  Bond called Obama’s announcement today,
and his appointment of the Ambassador Holbrooke earlier this year, the right
steps to put us on the road to winning the war.

In December of 2008, Bond traveled
again to the region, this time with Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator
Kerry, to meet with government, intelligence, and military officials as well as
U.S. Embassy personnel about the situation on the ground.  What Bond saw
first-hand on this trip confirmed the need for a comprehensive strategy as
detailed in the Senator’s Roadmap to Success in South
Asia
.

Bond emphasized that he strongly
supports President Obama’s broad outline for success in Afghanistan-Pakistan but
cautioned that the devil is in the details.  To date, the only specifics the
President has detailed are on increased troop numbers and he has not yet
conveyed how he intends to achieve his objectives.

“The broad outline the President
Obama is the right one, but the devil is in the details,” said Bond.  “There are
a number of specific steps that must be taken so we don’t just win the battle,
but we win the war.”

Key to our success in the region
will be how President Obama gains the support of local leaders, noted Bond.  It
is critical to develop a coordinated effort between the United States Government
and these local leaders to provide their people what they need, not what we
think they need.  Bond saw first-hand the success that can grow out of
cooperation with local leaders when he visited the Missouri National Guard
Agriculture Development Team (ADT) in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province in
December.  This team, made up of personnel with a wide range of civilian and
agricultural backgrounds, is teaching Afghans the skills they need grow and
harvest alternative.  Not only are Afghan farmers improving their own lives and
their land through sustainable agriculture the narcotics trade is also being
supplanted.