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U.S. Senator Wants Independent Commission To Do Comprehensive Study Of Afghan War

U.S. troops deploy in Afghanistan. (file photo)

A U.S. senator and veteran of the war in Iraq has proposed the creation of a nonpartisan commission to examine every aspect of the war in Afghanistan.

On October 27, Senator Tammy Duckworth (Democrat-Illinois) touted the Afghanistan War Commission Act, which would establish an independent commission to look at the 20-year U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

“We need to learn what we did wrong, that after 20 years and trillions of dollars in taxpayer money, within a week of us leaving, pulling out of Afghanistan, the country collapsed,” Duckworth said. “We did not truly do any nation-building.”

Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot who was injured in combat in Iraq in 2004 and had both legs amputated, said the military successfully accomplished its initial task of incapacitating Al-Qaeda and removing the Taliban from power.

But the rebuilding mission was never fully turned over to the State Department, she said.

The commission should examine how political and strategic decisions “transformed a focused military mission into vast, nation-building campaign that became the longest war in our nation’s history,” Duckworth said in a news release on September 30 announcing the bill.

“I think we kind of looked away,” she said on October 27 as she promoted the bill at an event hosted by the magazine Foreign Policy. “The military’s job and expertise is not in nation-building, it’s not in teaching and establishing a judiciary, a system of law and order. So they never did any of that.”

Duckworth said the panel would study not only the history of the military conflict but also the role of all government agencies involved -- not just the Defense Department -- to “understand the root causes of our failures.”

The panel should make forward-looking recommendations to prevent future generations from repeating past mistakes, she said.

With reporting by dpa
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