Press Release

Gillibrand, Murkowski Offer Amendment to Strengthen Afghanistan Reconstruction Efforts

May 21, 2009

Washington, D.C. – In a strong,
bipartisan move to bolster our efforts in Afghanistan and take steps toward
long-term stability, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Lisa Murkowski are
introducing an amendment to the supplemental military spending bill that
requests the U.S. Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary
of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to
enhance America’s reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.  The
Gillibrand-Murkowski amendment is likely to be included in the supplemental
military spending bill, which is expected to pass before the Senate adjourns
for Memorial Day.

“America’s national security is strengthened if Afghanistan is rebuilt as a stable
country that offers its own citizens the opportunity to work and succeed in the
global economy, raise a family and provide quality education for their sons and
daughters,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This bipartisan amendment ensures we are
taking the right steps to work with Afghan leaders and the international
community to achieve those goals.  Quality
schools, hospitals and other institutions are absolutely vital for improving
lives and establishing Afghanistan’s long term stability.”

The Gillibrand-Murkowski amendment requests the Secretary of State and USAID to
enhance U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan in the following ways:

  • Use lessons from previous reconstruction
    efforts in countries in conflict to develop an assistance approach in key sectors
    of the Afghan reconstruction work – emphasizing capacity building and support
    for local institutions;

  • Require civilian Provincial
    Reconstruction Team (PRT) leaders to regularly consult with local Afghan
    officials and other leaders to ensure reconstruction and development activities
    respond to local needs, are sustainable and strengthen the authority of the
    Afghan government at the provincial and sub-provincial level; and

  • Direct PRTs – when appropriate and safe
    and in accordance with current requirements for the reporting of waste, fraud
    and abuse – to provide a mechanism for local people to lodge complaints about
    corruption – when local law enforcement does not provide an adequate venue for
    such complaints.

As a member of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, Senator Gillibrand is a dedicated voice for improving our
national security and fostering strong relationships with our partners in the
international community.