Washington, D.C.— Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) release the following statement in response to news reports of worsening political and security trends in Afghanistan.

 “The situation in Afghanistan continues to slide downhill. Recent reports and comments from Admiral Mullen indicate that, despite valiant efforts by our troops, they simply do not have what they need to succeed. With al Qaeda’s growing presence, the situation is urgent and requires our full attention.

 “As I have said for several years, Afghanistan must once again become our top priority in the global counter-terrorism effort.  In the FY08 Defense bill, Congress required the Department of Defense to develop a comprehensive strategy that lays out a clear path for achieving our goals in the region by drawing on all parts of the U.S. government, as well as our international partners. DOD has yet to fulfill this obligation.

 “While I am pleased that the Administration is now reportedly engaged in a strategic review for Afghanistan and the surrounding region, I am disappointed it has taken so long to get to this point.

 “With the strong possibility that any future attack on the United States would come from this region, we cannot afford to allow the Administration to drag its feet on this effort.

 “Security in Afghanistan is a complex problem. We must not underestimate the challenges involved. Time is not on our side. We must give this the attention it demands and work quickly to change the dynamic. Our broader international efforts and our own national security depend on it.”