Rep. Frank Wolf today renewed his call for the creation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Study Group (APSG), after a Pentagon report released this week detailed the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan.

Wolf successfully added a provision to the FY 2012 defense spending bill providing $1 million for the creation of the APSG and has been pushing the Obama Administration since 2009 to have an outside review to examine U.S. policy and goals in Afghanistan.

In today’s letter to President Obama, Wolf cited the report’s findings that the Taliban remain a threat, the Afghan government is rife with corruption, and the number of insider attacks by Afghan security forces on their NATO coalition partners is up to 37 this year, compared with just two in 2007.  He described the Obama Administration and the Department of Defense’s failing policies in Afghanistan by quoting President Hamid Karzai, who recently blamed the United States for the insecurity in Afghanistan.

“Given this dreary assessment, I remain deeply disappointed that you have refused to use the money provided by Congress to appoint the Afghanistan/Pakistan Study Group to review the U.S. strategy,” Wolf wrote.

“More than 2,000 service members have been killed since fighting commenced in 2001,” he continued.  “Many service members have served four or more tours in multiple theaters, yet you refuse to use money authorized by Congress to convene a panel that could offer solutions that will decrease the number of U.S. casualties.”

Wolf noted that, despite the Obama Administration’s claim that $1 million would be an unwise use of resources, media reports have shown that more than $800,000 has been spent flying Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to and from his home in California many weekends.

Visiting home that often is “a luxury certainly not provided to a service member on their fifth tour of duty,” Wolf wrote.  “Is [that] a better use of taxpayer money than getting the best minds in our country to provide ‘fresh eyes’ on U.S. policy in this troubled region?”

Wolf concluded by writing that public officials “have a solemn duty to protect those we order into combat.  For the sake of our forces in theater and the safety of our nation, I once again implore you to use the money available to create the APSG.”

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