February 20, 2015
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Office of the Speaker
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner:
We write to you today to respectfully request that you consider inviting the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, to speak before a joint session of Congress when he visits Washington, D.C. during the last week of March 2015.
To say that a secure and stable Afghanistan is in the vital national security interest of the United States is a tremendous understatement. Afghanistan was the place where the attacks of 9/11 were planned with al Qaeda enjoying a safe haven as the honored guests of the Taliban. Since then, our presence in Afghanistan has served as a front line defense for our homeland and continues to be of vital importance for our nation and the region. Giving President Ghani the ability to directly address the American people is critical to building American support to preserve strategic gains in Afghanistan, which have been won at such great cost and sacrifice by our men and women in uniform. There is no more symbolic platform to address our country than the unique and singular format of a joint session of Congress.
Since taking office, President Ghani has impressed us on many levels. One of President Ghani’s first acts in office was to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States ensuring that the stable partnership created over a decade earlier would continue for years to come. As commander in chief of a nation at war, he immediately focused on the critical role of the security forces and removed impediments to a more robust and effective security partnership with the international coalition. We recently had in-depth talks with President Ghani at the international security forum in Munich, Germany regarding recent security and political developments in Afghanistan, and we believe that his message should be heard by all members of Congress and the American public.
The United States, our NATO allies, and partner nations who participated in operations in Afghanistan since 2001, have stood with Afghanistan as it transitioned from a failed state to one that successfully completed its first democratic presidential transition. To continue public support for our partnership with Afghanistan, it is important and appropriate for the American people to hear President Ghani’s commitment to values that will ensure future progress.
By extending the opportunity for President Ghani to speak to a joint session of Congress, we feel that he will be able to explain just how much Afghanistan has changed for the better since 2001, how under his leadership it will continue to flourish, and how important American partnership is to Afghanistan’s future security and stability.
Lindsey O. Graham, United States Senator
John McCain, United States Senator
Kelly Ayotte, United States Senator
Jeanne Shaheen, United States Senator
Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Senator
Mike Pompeo, Member of Congress
Ted Cruz, United States Senator
Joni Ernst, United States Senator
Bob Corker, United States Senator
Mac Thornberry, Member of Congress
Chris Murphy, United States Senator
Jim Langevin, Member of Congress
Eliot Engel, Member of Congress
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