Senate resolution backs long-term US-Afghanistan partnership

The heads and ranking members of the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees introduced a resolution late Tuesday "affirming the Senate’s critical role" in supporting the postwar deal struck between Washington and Kabul in June. 

"An enduring partnership between our two nations is vital to securing the gains our troops have secured on the ground in Afghanistan,” Senate Armed Services Committee chief Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said in a joint statement released Wednesday. 

The resolution, according to Levin, "will help make clear to our Afghan allies, regional neighbors, and those who would seek to destabilize Afghanistan that America’s involvement will not end" even after American forces leave the country in 2014. 

Roughly 23,000 U.S. Marines are scheduled to begin coming home this summer, with the remaining 68,000 American troops to be periodically drawn down from the Afghanistan in the run-up to the 2014 withdrawal deadline. 

“It is essential for both sides to fully implement this pact," committee ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in the same statement. 

Other co-sponsors include Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). 

Aside from legislating Senate support for the administration's postwar deal with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the resolution also calls upon Congress to back the financial and political commitments agreed to by the U.S. and international community in Tokyo and other summits earlier this year. 

Those mandates would "combat corruption, protect the equal rights of all citizens of Afghanistan and enforce the rule of law ... and build inclusive and effective institutions of democratic governance," according to the Senate resolution. 

The legislation also ties U.S. national security interests to maintaining "a long-term political, economic, and military relationship with Afghanistan" that includes a limited U.S. military forces designed to support the country's security forces, the resolution states.  

Those forces would strictly be focused on U.S. support for counterterrorism and training missions in conjunction with the Afghan National Security Forces long after the 2014 deadline.