Congressional homeland security leaders pessimistic on Afghanistan

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. Mindaugas Kulbis/AP

In the wake of news that an Afghan peacemaker was killed in Kabul on Sunday, top lawmakers on Congressional homeland security panels struck a pessimistic tone about the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, warning that the Taliban is clearly not interested in negotiation.

“They're not interested in genuine peace talks,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, on CNN’s State of the Union. “I mean, we have been reintegrating lower-level Taliban who have come back over to the side of the Afghan national security forces over the last couple of years, but the people at the top of the Taliban, in my opinion, are not interested in reconciliation.”

Lieberman said that this and other incidents have made it “obvious they don’t want peace right now,” but insisted the only way to get the Taliban to honestly engage in peace talks is to “continue to put pressure” on the organization.

Lieberman’s counterpart in the House, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., struck the same pessimistic tone and worried that the set date for withdrawal from Afghanistan was hurting the U.S. effort.

“Quite frankly, I think we should not be giving these target dates for getting out, but apparently that is set now,” he said. “It just shows again how tough Afghanistan is, that we shouldn't be leaving prematurely, and there's a lot of work on the ground that has to be done, and it's a very dangerous place in the world.”

Both lawmakers are in opposition to public opinion, with Americans widely dissatisfied with the war in Afghanistan and the latest poll showing a majority do not support the war. Incidents like Sunday’s killing of a peacemaker, however, underscore the danger inherent in leaving the country before Afghans are ready to take over their own security.

The lawmakers did, however, have positive words for the U.S. intelligence and homeland security efforts. Speaking of foiled bomb plot involving a U.S. airliner last week, King said that the effort marked an “almost unparalleled penetration of the enemy.”

Lieberman said that, now that U.S. officials have been able to examine the bomb, they’ll be adjusting security accordingly, but that the Transportation Security Administration would likely have caught it anyway.

“The odds are pretty good that our systems, multi-layered as they are, would have detected this device before the individual carrying it could have gotten on a plane,” he said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.