To say US lawmakers’ patience with all things Afghanistan — particularly the central government in Kabul — is running thin would be an understatement. And one senior Senate Democrat says Afghan officials’ inability to secure US-funded facilities is “not acceptable.”
Three Americans were killed on Thursday at a Kabul hospital funded by an American charity, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Ben Cardin, D-Md., is steamed about it.
Cardin said US lawmakers are “looking at our future involvement in Afghanistan.”
“It’s true, our mission is to stop extremists and to make sure that the al-Qaida organization cannot cause harm — not just on Afghanistan, but the international community,” Cardin said on MSNBC.
He then sent a warning to Afghan officials, whom the Obama administration continues pushing to agree to a joint security agreement. That pact would dictate the terms of America’s desired long-term presence there, including legal protections for US troops and civilians.
“But our future involvement very much depends upon the Afghan government keeping us safe, keeping those civilians who are working in Afghanistan safe and also keeping our soldiers in a — in a safe environment,” Cardin said. “Quite frankly, they haven’t done what they need to do, and they have to do a better job.
“There clearly are … those who want the extremists to win, are trying to disrupt our nonprofits, our charitable organizations,” Cardin said.
That, however, will require “the cooperation of the Afghan government to work with us to make sure that … our people are kept safe,” he added.
The alleged shooter was an Afghanistan security guard, the latest in a string of “insider attacks” in recent years that have seen Afghan security personnel — or those posing as such — target Americans and other Westerners.
Cardin expressed frustration because he, like other US lawmakers, believes “there should be a way to screen those who are part of the Afghan security forces to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
“So this is not acceptable, and particularly the pattern that we’ve seen, where they’ve been targeting those who are just trying to bring some degree of stability to Afghan life,” he said.”We have to have stronger cooperation from the Afghan government rather than continuously trying to fight us as to a common mission.”
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