For Immediate Release
Zach Lowe (202) 224-8657
Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
On the Leaked Documents Regarding U.S. Operations in the Af-Pak Region
WASHINGTON - "While
I do not condone the leaking of classified material, these documents underscore
what we already knew - the policies we have been pursuing in the region under
both the Bush and Obama administrations are based on a deeply flawed strategy.
In particular, the documents highlight a fundamental strategic problem, which
is that elements of the Pakistani security services have been complicit in the
insurgency. That, combined with competing agendas within the Afghan security
forces, make it clear that there is no military solution in Afghanistan.
It is long past time that we reduce our military footprint rather than
continuing to pursue a military escalation that depends on unreliable
actors. We need a new strategy, beginning with a timetable to draw down
our troops from Afghanistan, so we are better able to accomplish our top
national security priority of destroying al Qaeda's global network."
Feingold, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has repeatedly raised
concerns about ties between elements of the Pakistani Security Services and its
ties to the Taliban:
May 7, 2009, Senator Feingold wrote
to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing concern over a
seemingly "unqualified acceptance" of Pakistan's public statements that there
are no elements within ISI that are cooperating with militants or extremists.
May 20, 2009, Feingold announced his opposition to the
supplemental war spending bill. In his statement, Feingold
said, "this bill contains over $1 billion for the Pakistani military, and while
we must not over-generalize or take an ‘all or nothing' approach, it would be
unwise and very dangerous to convey to the Pakistani military that it has our
a May 21,
2009 hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Feingold
asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Richard Mullen, about
the ISI supporting the Taliban and how the U.S. should alter its
military-to-military strategy in the event the support continued.
February 2, 2010, during an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing,
Feingold asked Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair about Pakistan's
"continued support for militant proxies and about the assistance provided by
some of those groups to al Qaeda."