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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 13, 2015 6:00am-8:01am EST

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this is going to be an afghan fight. we've got to take this on. so there's a balance there i think but they absolutely do understand the sacrifices we provided and there's a difference between of his leadership we have today and a senior leadership in afghanistan and we were just a couple of months ago. >> you talked about the efforts of president ghani to reach out
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to the taliban and to try and begin some sort of negotiations. can you give us any insights into how far along that is the? >> i would rather discuss that in a classified setting. >> and to what extent are the taliban and do we see signs that they're being influenced by what's happening with isil in other parts of the middle east and the new reports that isil has begun to infiltrate taliban? >> the taliban and isil are like this. have different ideologies. they want to fight each other so you do have some taliban that feel disenfranchised from the taliban because they see isis or daish as ugly to gain resources, another way to gain media attention. suite of some of the taliban
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breaking often claiming allegiance towards isis. part of that is happening in different parts of afghanistan. a lot of the weakest of our afghan partners as they see that probably before we do. we've seen some recruiting, some letters some talk of it at some of the universities. it is a concern to president ghani therefore a concern to me that we continue to work that with our afghan partners to make sure that we understand where this is going inside of afghanistan, and pakistan. >> do we have any sense how the public in afghanistan and pakistan views isil? >> i think it depends on where they are and how much they read or hear about it. if you're inside of kabul and you have access to the litigation to newspapers radio, tv they're starting to get the media blasts of that in some outer part within minutes communicate should they may not know that's going on. again, it has quite a bit here
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in the last 45-60 days. president ghani is talk to the afghan people about it. he has talked to the afghan city forces about it. i have made it what i call it p5 our party requirement for a forces a we continue to work hard with our afghan partners here to make sure we understand this network. >> a final question. most of the discussion has been about how the national city forces are doing, what can you comment on what's happening with local police efforts and to what extent they are professionalizing their operations? >> yes, ma'am. i can talk more about kabul and the police about 40,000 police inside kabul because they see them on a day-to-day basis. they continue to work hard on the training, continue to work hard and trying to do more community policing. these high profile attacks inside of kabul, which you did about in late december time frame is an uptick. it is very very tough to stop
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waterone or two people from taking a magnetic idea -- id and sticking a bus, to take two or three people and stop them from having a suicide vest and attacking an ngo. very very tough. but what you don't hear about all the number of attacks, all the number of caches, all the number of people who have been arrested by the afghan police inside of kabul that didn't result in the tragedy. that number compared to the number is quite high. at the think one of the things we can probably work better with afghanistan is make sure they publicize it as well but the police do quite well because of their ability to work with the afghan people into human networks to get after these threats. i think they continue to progress not all of the afghan police inside the city but some of the specialties in the forensics. i visited one of the labs, sort of the csi with the to
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fingerprints, where they do explosives, where they take a look at rifle rounds that have gone off to bring the together. they have gotten quite good at the technology on the forensics and we will continue to work it out with them. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chair. general campbell, thank you so much for joining us here today and i know i don't need to say anything to boost your self-esteem or your ego, i do want you to know, sir, how widely respected you are amongst the men and women that have served under your leadership. we greatly appreciate that, and thank you very much for your service to our nation. all of us are on the appreciate you being here and you're in a very difficult position at a very tentative time as we move forward in this transition. one thing that has been of great concern to me is ensuring that as our united states armed services are moving or
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transition, i do want to say withdrawn, but as they are transitioning out of the more leadership type positions that we do have the afghan capability to back it up. logistics is always a great concern of mine and had to ask the panel yesterday some thoughts on logistics. at a great comment that came from admiral olson was that as it applies to the afghan security forces is that great shooters do not make a great army. there is a total army that needs to be out there, and so i would just like to know that we do have plans in place or the afghans are training to be logistical supporters as well whether it's the medical community, transportation, making sure that we have the maintainers for their equipment and their weapons. do they have those capabilities without the united states support the?
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>> thank you, senator. thank you for your service as well, and we do. we continue to work the logistical peace. we identified this as a gap we will continue to have to do key aa on for a while. magnets as you know in the u.s. army would continue to have contractors, cls in many places a lot of that in the aviation realm so do that in afghanistan. we continue to work very hard to build mechanics, to build the right level of personal to take of the afghan equipment answer that is with along with a will continue to take time and we have to continue to do tha to build the capacity for the afghans. i think the intent is to have a small portion that would lead contractors to work some very, very tough pieces of equipment in the aviation realm but for the most part i do think they continue to grow that capacity. again i went and saw something in the maintenance area and went to one of the maintenance base. it probably ate humvees, several of the mechanics working, all afghan army men working on these
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vehicles and they're doing quite well. they are issue quite frankly was parts, not getting the right parts. as we did a deep dive with that look at the warehouses, the parts are there. the issue is how the district the parts for the warehouses get them down to the core given down to the brigades. we're working that very, very hard. i went to h. warehouses inside kabul. is like a super home vehicle. at all the things they get in there and subtle president ghani would go to the corporate entity take a look at this. wants to get them in there to talk to the senior logisticians commutative of this stuff. honestly the culture inside of afghanistan, they that it is in there, they hold onto, but now they've worked very hard and absent the impact it will have on the fight. something casino leadership has moved that quite well in recent weeks and they using the wintertime to make sure that all classes of supply continue to move out to where the units need to build for the brand-new
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fighting season. >> as senator mccaskill mentioned just the contracting peace also and any engagement, so we see that the afghans are picking up more of the maintenance. and i'm pleased to hear that. i have been a just very concerned about that, that particular piece of it. but will we see a transition than away from american contractors more towards more national type contractors within that region? one thing that president ghani had made clear in his meeting with us this last weekend was that if there were not united states troops there, he would like to see more u.s. contractors. do you have a feel for it would be our contractors serving in nation, or would be more of a local forced? >> man to give you rough figures, we have 30000 probably 34,000 34,000 contractors.
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out of that 24,000 public combination of use and third country nationals and the other 10,000 are probably afghan contractors. we continue to work that number. that number will go down quite significantly this year and we continue to try to make sure that we have afghans tied into all these so the bill that not only for jobs in afghanistan but also to make sure they can sustain that over time. >> great. think you very much general. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, general for your great service. we enjoyed being with you in afghanistan in october and learned a good deal. i am incredibly heartened by the process. we just have to tell this story. this is something that american should be proud of. we should thank those who serve and against and over and over because this progress has been hard-won at a great cost. but just two items to the increase in life expectancy, 21 years over the course of the last 14 years is just virtually unheard of but you can look across human history nation to nation, you will not see a life
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expectancy increase of that kind in such a short period of time. the second thing i'm interested in women and deparle from zero to 28% in 14 years. -- in parliament. we have gone from zero to 20% in 100, zero to 20% in 100 years. they've gone from zero to 28% in 15 years pretty impressive. i agree with i think a bipartisan consensus on this panel. we've got to maintain this progress. everything we do should be conditioned based on calendar base. i think it's okay to have a plan that they needed to adjust it based on reality. i know you would coach the white house to make adjustments in terms of the authorities granted to u.s. troops during calendar year 2015 and that the consideration they did grandson changes in the authority. that's good. we've got to have a conditions-based approach. personally i think is this is important for afghanistan, because investment we've made
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and also there's a powerful narrative about the success in afghanistan that we can apply around the globe. i view it as sort of a contrasting narrative iraq and afghanistan to iraq didn't want us to stay. we are not occupiers and so we didn't stay. they then ran a government of national disunity within she is kicked around the kurds and the sunnis. the situation went to hell in a handbasket ideas and others are playing a leadership role and now trying to rescue it. afghans want us to stay. 77% of the afghan population think the coalition is staying in helping is a good thing. these are people chased the soviet union out of that country battled to the death to chase them out. they want the united states to stay. they want the coalition to stay. afghanistan success creates a powerful argument, the u.s. is a partner of choice in the world. we are the partner of choice. are actually seeing that it's and interesting places in the
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world today. india which is had a tradition of nonalignment or even tilting towards russia that is more military exercises with the united states than with any other nation. they are seen as whether it is joint exercises or training or purchase of military platforms as a partner of choice. i was on the phone with the apple yesterday but mexico has added military tradition of leaning a little bit toward russia but they are now doing the u.s. military as a partner in choice. i think success in afghanistan, and i agree with which are we've got to make a conditions-based. we've got to stay and harvest on the success because everyday we're showing the united states is the partner of choice. a couple of concerns. i was first afghanistan in 2006. my card gardening and women who were there from virginia, and then ambassador neumann said you'd let iraq take your eye off the ball in afghanistan. iraq polls our attention away.
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when we're in afghanistan, that pulled some attention away. at that point time in '06 he was worried about the same thing happening. i have been calling on congress since june. we need to be in this battle against isil and we need to be strong. i'm going to support strong motor action against isil but i am nervous and they think we do need to use history as our guide and not let the battle against isil deflect any attention away from the situation in afghanistan and our continued need to harvest and accelerate the gains we have made there. sebastian saavedra comment. as we get into the discussion i some the discussion i slump of amateur were not taking our eye off the ball in afghanistan and the great work we are doing. you indicated you don't think the taliban is not an existential threat to the nation. we had testimony last year from her predecessor that corruption could be an existential threat
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to the nation because it weakens peoples belief and believe in the effectiveness of government and they can exacerbate sectarian divisions of people think one group is getting more than the other. talk about the efforts of the new administration to tackle corruption. >> sir, thank you for the question. i do agree that corruption and president ghani to change the entire dynamic for him. so he ran on the idea that we would have to get after corruption. corruption. they would have corruption. they would have to get after corruption. they would have to get after crushing of the first things he was reopened in the cobbling to case and held people accountable for there. these taken a hard look at how they assign senior leadership in all ministries in these taken corruption into that. so i think he and everything they do as they select new leadership as they engage with new companies on and on they take corruption to understand how bad that has been and how
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that impacts a donor nation, that they need so much for the next so beers as he continues to work on his economy. he's told in private that is worked, he works 20% security 20%, i'm sorry, 40% of security 40% on the economy. i know as part of that the corruption peace comes on both sides but he worked very hard to make sure that depict ministers that were not corrupt to have the influence. i think they will continue to work that very hard. it is a concern to all all of the army and the police senior leadership i talk to. they want to remain apolitical. they want to make sure they did anybody that is corrupt outside of their leadership. so even at the level they continued to express their concerns and work hard to make sure they can do everything they can to get rid of corruption when they see it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator cotton. >> general campbell, first thank you for your years of
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distinguished service and great service to our country. i and the people of represent all or very grateful for all you have done. you have a little over 10,000 troops left in afghanistan right now, is that correct? >> that is correct. i have a statement recorded for the nato mission is about 12,900. >> and most americans who didn't serve in the military see it and experience it through movies television and so forth. if you look at the recent popular movie american sniper giving over wash to marines going door-to-door in anbar province. this pub with have in mind when you think about our operations both in iraq and afghanistan. d. have many or any infantryman or discredit tankers or artillerymen conducting those kind of operations in afghanistan today? >> i have men and women that continue to be able to provide for the on force protection.
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he do not do we do not plan offenses comment operations at all but i have to make sure that the men and women that are on the combat outpost, the fobs the difficult to provide for their own force protection. we do that mostly by, with and through our afghan partners but they do have to have the ability continue to patrol what we call ground offensive area outside of those fobs. but it is for force protection. >> is it fair to see if more troops providing things like aerial support, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance support brigade division and corps level planning support things like that? >> as opposed -- >> as opposed to going out and conducting dismounted or mounted combat patrols. >> santa to come i don't know percentagewise but i am comfortable we have the ability to provide force protection, and at the same time provide the requisite expertise to do the isr mission, that kind of thing.
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it ties handed in the isr is a great force protection enabler. >> i recognize that essential between those because i think it's important american people to know whether for people like us here or from yourself that a lot of the missions that are triggered in afghanistan right now truly are supporting the afghan sector to forces. that helps build public support for our continued mission in afghanistan. that this is not the kind of war we're fighting in afghanistan and iraq a decade ago. so that something of which we should all be mindful as were trying to marshal more public support for this continued campaign. related point, if you could speak roughly, when would you say the 2015 fighting season would end in afghanistan? went to the conditions and most of the country become too harsh for our adversaries to keep
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fighting? >> i think it depends on the season but this past year the winter season has been very mild so we haven't had a lot of snow. the passes have not close down between afghanistan and pakistan and there's many people who say today in fact there's a continuous season that we would look at it as fighting season to fighting season, but the afghans continued to talk in those kinds of terms. fighting season as we tied around whether. and so from about the end of september time frame, traditional months i think we've seen increase in enemy activity and operations. >> how does that impact the timing of her decision point for whether you would recommend that we keep the current troop levels or are we able to reduce troop levels further? is there a point on the calendar at which you can no longer wait to make a decision? >> senator, as i talked earlier disappointed physics will have to start the scoping and
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retrograde equipment, downsizing facilities to be able to get to a number at a certain point in time. as you we would call those decision point. without those light up at the comfortable record right now that have flexibility in that planning as will forward on this winter review but there will come a point in time where i was at here is a decision point make a decision i ask. >> i would encourage you as i encourage the secretary of defense nominee to speak out using your best professional military judgment. i think you'll find there is a lot of members of this institution, the senate and the house of representatives, who would support you and support the decision of the president to keep at least 10,000 troops in afghanistan until 2017 because it's in our vital national security interest. i know you know the risks we face from leaving afghanistan to early. this is not your first row two there or anywhere else that i would say the risks are embodied in those pictures that you have over there of the electricity in kabul late at night.
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we should be proud of that. we should be proud of all the efforts that are troops have put into it. but what i worry about is an american city that looks like that going dark because of a terrorist attack that was once again launched from afghanistan which is a language al-qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and it is a singular achievement in the war on terror that we've expelled al-qaeda in a safe haven and did not return. it is critical to make sure that they don't. i appreciate all of your efforts to make sure that doesn't happen. >> senator blumenthal. >> thanks mr. chip in. and i want to join my colleagues and thank you general campbell for ordinary service to our nation over many years and are dedicated and diligent work in afghanistan over a number of tours and following the very worthwhile work done by your predecessors there, and i want to cover some of the points that you and i discussed a little bit
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yesterday when you were kind enough to visit my office. first of all on the relationship with afghanistan, they have been a source of the improvised explosive device is ieds, the so ravaged our troops in such large numbers. and yesterday enduring that we had with ambassador cunningham and former ambassador crocker the indicated that i say more precisely, or ambassador cunningham indicated that ied continue to be a problem in afghanistan. in your view, do you agree with this assessment to say they are a continuing military threat to the afghanistan forces as well as our own? >> sure, thank you for the question. i think ieds have become the weapon of choice not only in afghanistan but throughout any insurgency or terrorist attack.
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so that's that something that started years ago as act up and continues to move. it will continue to be a threat to both coalition forces and afghan security forces. we do continue to work very hard as counter ied capability for afghan forces, and again i don't have come i can get you the statistics but the number of ids found versus number that went off continue to get better and better. again, a human in the afghan that a been trying to build to detect those gets better and better, and i think that truly noteworthy as we've gone through the last couple of years. years. >> would you agree the primary source of those ingredients continues to be pakistan and that they have done less than they could and should to stop the flow of those bomb making ingredients across the border? >> server, i would tell you there's ample material inside of afghanistan to build ieds. there are reports of portions of
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what it takes to make an ied that come in from pakistan. i know that i've talked to the general about that as well. it didn't work very hard. they've also been impacted by this thread of ied fun on forces, on their own civilians and so they understand they have to go after that as well. but afghanistan members i think would tell you some of the parts, some of the tools that come up do believe are coming from afghanistan yes, sir. >> that perhaps is an area of focus whether coalition forces can even impose greater cooperation with pakistan? >> sir, absolutely. one of the things, pakistan has done for afghan forces i don't think it's scheduled yet but i know the general has reached out to the chief of the army afghanistan and offered up counter ied training inside of pakistan for the afghan forces. >> you and i spoke yesterday about the possibility of purchasing helicopter parts and
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components for the mi-17s that afghanistan now has, purchasing from the russians that were financed with american taxpayer funds from other sources, either in europe or elsewhere in the world is that an effort that you're going to pursue? in other words, to stop any further purchases of not only helicopters but also parts and components of those helicopters for the affix to the afghanistan forces? >> as we talked about the mi-17 is a critical vote for the afghan security forces, for the special mission wing come into people to continue to keep them fly, taking them in the fight it will be continued peace on the magnets and on the spare part peace. we will work very hard as we talked about yesterday to make sure that we do that within the authorities that i have to make sure that we acquire those parts in the right way. so absolutely. >> in the right way meaning
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other than export russian export agency that the soulless not us but the afghan come so many helicopters with our money speaks we are trying to work really is that the afghans work through the process to make sure they get those parts to bully sustainable capability within afghanistan so once we are going they can do that themselves. we have to start that now yes, sir. >> one last question people -- before my time has expired. i know you're focused on health care needs particularly the mental health care needs of the brave men and women under your command and want to thank you for the effort. thank the chinese armed forces for the increased focus and attention to the issue, and thank you again for your service. >> thank you, sir. >> senator rounds. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general thank you for your service to our country. we appreciate the comments you've made so far today.
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i had just a couple of questions, serve. first of all last was the deadliest in the war with more than 5000 afghan soldiers and police being killed. you noted the a and s. were going out -- anf were going about four times for operations lash of the privacy. so more casualties could be expected. how was the increase in the operations affect the complexity involved to train the ansf in the capabilities that still need to be developed? >> thank you, sir. are you referring to the capabilities for the medical peace so we can reduce the number of casualties, or -- >> basically you are losing soldiers right now yet the same time you're trying to train them up. when you're losing that at this rate, how did you bring them in and get them set up and continue the training regimen that is necessary? >> as i said, probably five to
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7% increase from 13 to 14 higher operational tempo. most of those at higher percentage were on the afghan local police, outside in the for places of it against and decide to protect individual villages not equipped with the same type of heavy weapons with the same type of training that the army and the regular police have, but the taliban have recognized that they are a threat to them because they're inside the villages and their against the taliban. they could attack them inside so they've gone after those two targets, those soft targets. as i said the ability to recruit and train the afghans have not been an issue. the one issue is we brought a early that they need to work on is the number of females that they continue to bring in, but i think for the most part they don't have issues with recruiting. what we are trying to do is lower the number of died of wounds that kind of think of increase the capability in the medical arena on the medevac. i've seen some great
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achievements here in the last different operations that they have had where they've been able to provide that service to their men and women that are out there fighting. all of them do something things we do but they carry targets, a combat lifesaver's. and medics where cigna to recognize them as medics. they continue to put as many folks in the medical train that they can. they understand this is an issue for morale and also leads towards readiness issue. that everybody is working this very hard, and i've talked to the afghan army surgeon general on a one on one session at sure we can do everything we can do to help them build a capability i talked to the chief of the army, he is concerned about and his increase number of people the sense to school and to make sure they continue to get all the medical training. >> is the coordination also between kabul and the local units of government as well with regard where the casualties are at? at? is there a correlation between the central government and the local units of government when
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it comes to this training? >> i would have to go back to you on that, take it for the record. i can talk as far as the military side. i can't talk to you as far as the civilian peace. i have looked at afghan hospitals inside of kabul on the civilian side to make sure they can take some of the military casualties. the military have the own hospitals. we just finished a brand-new and that is quite good. so i couldn't tell you that kind of coordination between -- i know there are memorandums of understanding to the army, the police to make sure they share the facility to bring the military folks in. they do bring in civilian casualties to the military hospitals as well and initially work them there. if you referring to that kind of coronation, they do do that. >> i yield back my time. >> senator manchin. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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and jenna, thank you but i'm so sorry i had another meeting there, but i appreciate you being here. care an awful lot about what's going on, what caused in iraq we go backwards from we lost mosul, a lot of our equipment and you would think all the money that we invested in training and equipping would've been put to better use than what it was. briefly, what do you think it will take us to maintain a presence so that we don't go backwards in afghanistan and what you think it's going to maintain to get iraq back to work and sustained itself? >> i think the key really for afghans to a continued to build upon the capacity afghan forces so that they have the requisite skill sets to make sure that they don't do with the iraqi army did, fall apart and your leadership, the reg q, the right
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training. i just don't see that happening in afghanistan. >> it seems like it takes oppressive for that to happen. when our presence was gone, we should've seen maliki falling apart and not having anything as far as contingency plan, if you will. and i'm just saying back home in west virginia they want to know, do we have to go back all over like we did in iraq? can we prevent that in afghanistan? >> sir, again ugly the afghan security forces are not going to let afghanistan go in a way that. they've told me that. it's in the senior leadership and the please tell me that. they believe that stalled prevent a government now wants to commute to work with the international forces, wants to continue to provide requisite resources authorities for their leadership, not to let them go down that route. as i told you before they went
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to the election last year. people thought it would fracture among ethnic lines. they did not. they are proud of that. i just don't see that happening with continued training, continued to build up on the afghan forces both the army and the police. >> is not as concerned, the economy. i've always believed at been there a few times myself. their economy in 2001 when all this because was about $4 billion to that was the economy as far as in afghanistan. that went from 4 billion to 20 billion based on american input of money and the war effort that we put there. economy was wrapped around us. that had continued to grow and was biking up to 14.4% growth rate in 2012. then it fell to 1.5% growth rate as we start retracting. opium cultivation was up by 7% i think last year but the
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production increased by 17%. it's been reported that business makes up one-fifth of the size of the afghanistan legitimate gdp. how will the country able be able to stand on its own? when the drug trade is so profitable, how can we divert them from the drug trade? if you don't have the war effort, the amount of money we are pumping in and we try to get them off the drug trade we can destabilize that economy? >> leadership will make a difference and it think with president ghani, editing the issues he has with the narcotics and drug smuggling, going after that, providing the right leadership and the right resources to go after that will continue to hope that he is going after this entire piece on the economy. he spends 40% of his time just on the you can knows he can't do it just within afghanistan, although years and years down the road with the minerals they
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have, the minds they have with the agricultural base that they had to be will get much, much better but he knows it will take years and years. he will be depend upon the donor nations for the next several years but he's reached out the entire region to help them on the economic realm. when he first visited pakistani talked again about security. talk about economics, talked about sharing intelligence, talk about people to people. so that is foremost on his mind. he has a background from the world bank but if there's anybody that could turn afghanistan around and their economy around it is going to be president ghani but it's going to take considerable time spent i would just say i would like to talk to you more about that is for precious metals, extraction of precious metals. what part of the world is getting those contracts. china has been a big player in copper as you know. i don't think we have a united states corporate there's been a player over the bill we're giving them support and protection to harvest that the
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my time is up but i would like to talk to you more about that. thank you, general. >> senator tillis. >> thank you mr. chair. general campbell, thank you for your distinguished service but i wanted to go back, to me the humanitarian positive dimension impact that we've seen in afghanistan since 2001 i hope that the media and the american people understand that the miraculous turnaround of this country and just to go back and to note the life expectancy your talk about from 43 years old the 64 years old schools with fewer than 900,000 students from virtually none of them women. now we have 8 million with 36% of them females. the numbers are startling. to a certain extent we all know that when we first first and foremost that it is simply a strategy in afghanistan.
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i also think that those who seem to want, have a precipitous withdrawal from afghanistan forget the tragic humanitarian crisis that would be created if we did that. i do hope that we so weaving into the narrative this is not only about our national duty but it is about the city that went from a city of berlin to the city of lights, fastest growing city in the world. there's a lot of hope there and i think that the afghani people are looking to the united states to let them continue to make the progress that we think they're in a position to make. my question relates to chairman mccain mentioned that some of our members met with president ghani, and he talked about flexibility. you talk about some changes you recommended to your leadership. are the changes that you recommended substantially aligned with what president ghani is wanting in terms of the
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current strategy for withdrawal and reduction of troops? >> i'm not specifically talk to president ghani about the options but i've been with them several times a week. we have talked about what it would take to continue to provide flexibility for millions of ground -- ground commanders windows withstand on that so he would support the options i presented. >> how do you feel about how those options have been received by your leadership or the administration? in other words, and to what extent do you think there will be acted on and then you will be given authority to act on the options you recommended? >> we are in discussions right now. there's a process we go through just like we did back in october, november, december. the thousand bridging so she gave me to support the mission.
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were talking those now and i get very good about where we are at. >> would you characterize those changes or those additional options as a minor course corrections or subliminal shifts in certain areas based on the current strategy? >> i characterize it as come as i said to this committee seven months ago that when i got on the ground i would make continuous assessments. and that that six-month on the ground now to make those assessments both were our forces are, with the afghans agree forces are where the threat is what has changed as i outlined in my oral statement, and based on that divided this flex with the think both president ghani has asked for and that will stay within what we need to be to reach our strategic objectives inside of afghanistan. >> general, the trajectory that you would create by looking at the taliban in 2001 in afghanistan and the current situation, do you believe if we
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stay on the current course that we could expect these very positive trends to continue at their same pace or will they be imputed? >> i think in some areas we will continue to have the same pace or maybe increased pace based on the capabilities of afghans based over 13 years. in some areas it may stay the same in some errors and make a lower. spent any particular case you think are at risk? are there any areas you're in a position to say are a clear risk, current strategy? >> are you talking about the once -- >> more on the humanitarian side side. >> sir, really i feel very comfortable with it. the afghans have worked with many of the nations to include the u.s. embassy. there are many of those areas on the humidity inside to build their own capability and capacity. and so i would really leave that to ambassador mckinley and his folks to answer in great detail.
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i think they build the capacity in many of those areas and i would feel very totable in most sectors we showed up here to stay where they're at or continue to grow. >> i just want to thank you and the men and women who served over there and help them realize that's what those pictures are looking the way they are looking. we thank you and therefore, your service. thank you. >> senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the charge to provide are stunning, returns on investment. the question for americans, what does it matter that young girls are going to school in afghanistan? it matters a lot because you just can't kill all the terrorists but if you could allow young women and young people to see a better future, they will be more resistant to taliban. what does it matter you have access to clean water? it means you've got something to live for, not die for. we're trying to build in afghanistan were people will reject the culture of death except a way forward. do you agree with me that most afghans, 90% probably, have no
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desire to go back to the taliban-based? >> sir absolutely. >> the only way to go back to the taliban days is if they lost the capacity to detain and defeat the taliban? >> sir i think of the afghan security forces were not able to do that that would be the only way. >> do you support 352 afghans he could forces for the treatment, for the foreseeable future? >> i think the number 352,000 plus the 30,000 local police for the army and please continues to be the right number, the right distant vision for the country that we have. >> and the cost to us would be what? >> we are working very hard on the cost. it's about for .1 billion issued from a little less. we continue to work hard to save where we can every every have a think about 3.8 billion is what i came in with for 2016 spent so you think it's in our national security interests to maintain this forced? >> i think the small investment
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for the afghans agree forces continue to provide them the ability to protect the country to provide for more stable afghanistan but as a talk with in the oral statement a safer afghanistan is a safer united states. >> i don't want 3.8 billion as of the total federal budget still a lot of money to be but a return on investment for that i think is enormous but it is just as simple as this. we can keep the army intact they will do the fighting and we won't have to. we will be supporting. president ghani in munich suggested that when he visited the united states he would like the opportunity to thank the american people, and suggested whether or not a joint session of congress appearance would be possible. do you think that would help the overall relationship? >> president ghani thanks director kibble and were i've been with the if he had an opportunity to with the joint session of congress i think a very good spent a lot of us who
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were on the trip in munich will send a letter to this would be what appears i think we would all support. i cannot tell you how hopeful i am under president ghani's leadership that we are just smart enough to see this through. i think we will get a good outcome here, and i will be sending a letter along with my colleagues. if we go down to 5500 as planned this year without some adjustment, our way out of kandahar completely? >> if we go to 5500 as i said before we go to kabul central yes or. >> i want to committee to understand, kandahar is not just a spot on the map is it is the spiritual to the taliban? >> correct. >> if we hold candy bar there's no way they come back? >> the afghan security forces to yes or. >> when i say we i mean them, too. so if we begin to lose in the south, will it have a splintering effect throughout
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the country? >> sir, it would provide the taliban some momentum, yes or. >> and you believe with a presence in kandahar relatively small we can secure the gains that we have had, we've achieved and it would be smart to probably keep that presence at least for a while longer? >> i think we need to continue to fight the afghan security forces some taa. >> now about as big do you agree with me that this part of the world is as it is part of the world, and catechism platform that we enjoy today in afghanistan is tremendously beneficial to protecting the homeland? >> i concur with that. >> okay. do you agree with me that the afghans want us to stay? >> i can do with that as well. >> there's a debate about what happened in iraq to there is no debate about afghanistan. the only question is will we accept the invitation in the right format.
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so let's end this discussion with the idea that the afghan people, through their government, want us to stay. >> sir, the afghan senior leadership on the military side have told me repeatedly that they appreciate our sacrifice, and they would want us to stay. >> that's true of their political leadership also? >> absolutely. >> and it is in our national state interest to stay wisely spent a safer, secure afghanistan provides for safety for homeland that would not that another 9/11 since we've been forward deployed. the pressure that the brave men and women continue to apply to the terrorist networks inside of afghanistan have prevented them from being able to come to the united states, i do believe that. >> senator lee. >> thank you very much, general kehler, for being here. thanks all you do to keep us
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safe. the mission in afghanistan that we have, i stated in the 2001 authorization for use of military force their was of course to use force against all nations, organizations and individuals deemed to have been involved in the planning to authorization and commission of the attacks of september 11. so article was basically to punish those who perpetrated the attacks and prevent future attacks against u.s. citizens. today, what can you tell us about what the capacity is terrorist groups that may be operating in afghanistan and in pakistan to launch attacks against the united states quacks and how have the capabilities and the ambitions of those
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groups trended over the last five years how does it look today as compared to five years ago? >> i can give you a very general answer on that and would prefer to go into a classified session if you want to go into more detail. might read would be that based on again our presence inside of afghanistan with a great counterterrorism capability we have been able to continue to keep pressure on insurgents that would want to do harm to both afghanistan and other nations to include europe and the united states. i think over the last several years we've been able to keep the pressure down or keep the pressure on them and that is led to our ability to plan attacks against our homeland. >> you feel good about the improvement that's been made over the last five years on that front? >> i do. >> where -- >> if i could -- i feel very
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good about the last six months of what i've seen on the ground in afghanistan on the. >> you have seen more progress in the last six months and perhaps -- >> i have been over the last six months i can talk from the perspective of seeing that my so. i can talk about before that. >> understood, understood, thank you. we're the insurgent groups fighting against the afghan government -- where -- forces where and how are they generating their funding, their weapons and their recruits, and what are we, the united states, what are the u.s. armed forces doing to disrupt those networks of funding in the supply chains for their arms and so forth? >> i would rather give you a broader general answer and discuss global in detail in a classified hearing. as we mentioned before some of the funding comes from the drug trade some of the funding comes from minerals, some of the funding is just from other gulf
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nations. some of it is from weapons smuggling. so there's a long list of things that provide insurgency funding went inside of afghanistan. and i think that both president ghani understands that the city forces understand that and they continue to work very hard on attacking the sources of that funding to limit what the insurgents can actually do. >> what is your assessment of an afghan governments attempt to for an inclusive government relationship between the civilian leadership in kabul on the one hand and the afghan national city forces on the other hand? >> i think both president ghani and dr. abdullah have worked very, very hard to maintain a national unity government. i've been will -- both of them so does. they both have given up a little bit move afghans afford as they went through this election but i think that conflict each other. i think president ghani is taken
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on the role of commander-in-chief. we have not seen that before. he has told all of the afghan police and the army army that their welfare is his welfare. he is personally involved in every facet of their leadership of how to get resources. he continually goes out to different sites to show the afghan army and the police that he is the commander-in-chief. so he is gainfully employed to show that he cares for them and everything about them which i've never seen before under president karzai. >> is the afghan government in your opinion on track to increase their level of burden sharing and supporting the ansf and becoming self-sustaining and self governing? >> sir, they are working at this year. i think they show that could provide the requisite amount of we asked them to do but it's going to continue time on their entire holistic economic approach. and again president ghani knows he can't do that just by itself but has to engage with the
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region to be able to do that very dependent upon that on the united states but the other donations but he has taken a hard look at how we can attack this problem by visiting himself several key leaders in the region. he talks about different agreements that is baking with other countries around to provide railroads, ways of transport agriculture outside afghanistan, to take a look at the white industry, on at home. he is engaged in this every single to. >> thank you very much general. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and general thanks again for your service. and your opening comments i think your service and sacrifice and importantly success are very powerful, i think there are important for the american people to know. i also appreciate your emphasis on military families and their
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sacrifice, in many ways the unsung heroes of the last several years. i think one of the general themes here you're saying is that people are applauding the success but we had a general mattis in your last week talking about how it's clear that the successes that we have seen in a whole host of areas that you listed could be reversed, that their fragile in many ways. and the broader issue that i think most of us are concerned about is a replay of what's happened or what happened in iraq. as a military leader senator kaine spoke publicly about this a couple of minutes ago. do think it's important to have condition based withdrawal dates or transition dates based on success that you've been talking about versus a calendar based
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withdrawal? >> sir thanks for the question. i think it's important that minute to commend on the ground be able to revive his best military advice to senior leadership as he takes a look at whole bunch of different variables on the ground. the enemy, the situation of afghan security forces, those types of things. and i've continued to do that for the last six months and again i have provided options in this winter due process to my leadership that i believe allows us the flexibility to both president ghani, the afghan people that will continue to keep us on a road to be successful. >> so your approach is condition based versus date on the calendar that says we are leaving? >> i think there's a lot of different conditions that go into the recommendations that i provide. time is one of those, yes, sir spirit the other thing that is a big responsibly for all of us for you us congress, the executive branch is when looking at our challenges, and there are
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many national security challenges, that we level with the american people who want to do with the challenges are. they want to know we have a strategy. i appreciate your candor today. i think you're epitomizing that kind of straightforward leveling with people that i think is so important as we address these challenges. the president has already declared that the u.s. combat mission in afghanistan -- a lot of the discussion today we've been talking about the u.s. a u.s. counterterrorism mission. so he says combat, the combat mission is a we've been talking about a counterterrorism mission that i think the counterterrorism mission is very important for obviously it's a broader strategic implications in terms of protecting the homeland. but isn't the u.s. combat come isn't the uscp mission a combat mission right now? >> there's no doubt that i have
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with u.s. forces afghanistan and nato had a couple different missions. there's the issue about from the president on down that we have that mission. >> there seems be be a disconnect and again i know this is your focus but it seems to be a disconnect between what the president is telling the american people, we are done with combat operations in afghanistan and yet we have a robust it sounds like and important ct mission was to undertaking. again i think this goes to the leveling with the american people and what we're actually doing. do you have come in terms of a robust ct mission can it be supported by the current troop levels contemplated by the president? >> i don't think i used the word robust but i do have enough of the resources for the ct mission occurred at right now. we have downsized our cd capability over the last summer years just as we downsized the
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other forces out there. i do believe i have the requisite resources to continue with the current ct mission that i have. >> would you in 2016 if we're on the trajectory that the president has talked about? >> i would have to go make sure that i have that flexibility within those numbers are on the different missions that i would have. i think right now i would have to go back and make sure that was within those options that we provided to the senior leadership. >> okay. thank you. thank you mr. chairman. >> jungle, we thank you for being here. i enjoyed our conversations and this at christmas time when i was with you in kabul. -- jungle. every witness before this committee and every retired military man or woman believes that we cannot have a calendar-based withdrawal from afghanistan.
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we certainly don't want to see what the president described in 2014 a normal abc presents with a secure assistance component just as we've done in iraq. we don't want to do just as we've done in iraq, obviously. i am keenly appreciative of your role in the decision-making process as a uniform military leader but it's very clear that unless we change what is now the course we are on then we're going to have enormous difficulties in afghanistan. and by the way i appreciate those pictures. it's also a fact that you can't go downtown kabul, any american, can't without armed ex-court. you can't drive around kabul in the short end and armored vehicle. the ring road we thought was going to connect all of afghanistan is not safe in many parts. the taliban control it.
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so yes there has been a lot of progress, but there is a number of areas including the fact that we still haven't gotten a handle on this terrible thing what afghans in uniform shoot american military members. so we've got a long way to go and you've got to speak truth to power, not just because of the fact that the situation on the ground argues for conditions-based withdrawal, but i think you owe to the men and women who are still serving over there because if you believe from your assessment that if we go to a kabul-based situation by the end of 19, excuse me, embassy-based situation i the end of 2016 a notable embassy presence, then you've got to
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speak out. because too many young americans have already lost their lives and their lands in afghanistan -- limbs are i and others have been there since the beginning and we can't allow their deaths to be in the. so i strongly urge you when you counsel the president, to do the right thing. and we all know what the right thing is, and i thank you for being here today. senator reed? this hearing is adjourned. thank you general. [inaudible conversations]


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