A bipartisan bill introduced on Tuesday by Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Udall (D-NM) would end US involvement in the nearly two-decade-long war in Afghanistan.
The 2019 American Forces Going Home After Noble Service (AFGHANS) Act calls for a declaration of victory in Afghanistan, along with a 45-day deadline for a comprehensive withdrawal plan to withdraw all US forces within a year, according to a statement from Paul's office.
This week, I am introducing legislation to end a war that should have ended long ago, the war in Afghanistan. The United States has been fighting the War on Terror since October of 2001 and it has cost 6 trillion dollars. pic.twitter.com/UBxeq0NsQe— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 5, 2019
The bill also calls for the establishment of a "framework for political reconciliation to be implemented by Afghans."
Additionally, the legislation would require the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to be repealed at the end of the withdrawal. Passed in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the AUMF has come under political scrutiny in recent years as it is still used to bypass Congress in justifying military operations against terrorist groups.
And the bill would have the federal government pay, within one year, a $2,500 bonus to the more than 3 million military service members who have served in the war — a one-time cost of about $7 billion.
That bonus would be “an immediate savings of over 83% when compared to the current yearly costs,” the statement says. -The Hill
"Endless war weakens our national security, robs this and future generations through skyrocketing debt, and creates more enemies to threaten us," said Paul in a statement.
"For over 17 years, our soldiers have gone above and beyond what has been asked of them in Afghanistan," he added. "It is time to declare the victory we achieved long ago, bring them home, and put America’s needs first."
According to The Hill, the Trump administration is currently negotiating with Taliban leadership in order to halt America's longest-running armed conflict - which includes the option of cutting the roughly 14,000 US troops currently in Afghanistan in half over the next few months, and a complete withdrawal within 3-5 years.
The bill was quickly lauded by the Koch-backed Concerned Veterans for America, which said Paul and Udall “highlight a growing sense across the country that American military involvement in Afghanistan has run its course and potentially become counterproductive to our interests.” -The Hill
Others in Congress pushed to end the war in Afghanistan on Tuesday - as a group of Democratic and progressive lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) sponsoring a veterans group pledge to "end the forever war."