Senators Seek Vote on Open-Ended Afghan War

Afghan Jirga Got to Vote on Agreement, Why Not Congress?

The Afghan War will nominally “end” at the end of December, at least for campaigning purposes. US troops will remain there and in combat roles “through 2024 and beyond” per a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) they are pushing Afghanistan to sign.

Senators aren’t too happy with the idea, arguing that they should be able to at least vote on it before launching a decade-plus of additional military presence in Afghanistan. The Afghan loya jirga voted on the BSA late last year.

The plan has been for the deal to be portrayed as an “executive agreement” between the US and Afghan Presidents, meaning no parliamentary approval would be necessary. Given the enormous unpopularity of the war, voting for another decade of it in everything but name could also be a tough sell, even for the hawkish Senate.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D – OR) was critical of the lack of a vote, saying it amounted to “military on auto-pilot.” President Obama has seemed less and less interested in Congressional authorization in recent months, however, and that sugg3ests such a vote probably won’t happen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of