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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., submitted a statement for the record today at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on humanitarian aid for Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai testified at the hearing.

Enzi's complete statement follows.

Statement of Senator Michael B. Enzi
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing
Meeting with Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
February 26, 2003

Chairman Lugar, Thank you for giving me this opportunity to say a few words about the continuing situation in Afghanistan. I would like to welcome President Karzai and thank him for taking time to visit the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the challenges being faced by his nation.

Although there is a plethora of issues we can address in regard to Afghanistan, I would like to focus on food and humanitarian assistance. As you all know, yesterday this committee examined the State of the World Report on Hunger. It is clear from yesterday's testimony and the statistics we have all read that there is a real crisis of hunger and malnutrition in the world.

I am pleased to see that the United States remains the lead distributor of food aid and a lead contributor to Afghanistan. We have taken on this task and continue to surpass other nations in the amount of food we donate. We cannot deny, however, that people are still hungry, malnourished, and dying from hunger related problems. And in Afghanistan, we still see a large internally displaced population, refugees, and a land plagued by years of drought.

I strongly believe in the old adage: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. I would like to see this theory applied in Afghanistan.

We need to look at some of the old aid delivery problems, address the basic issues, and come up with new ideas. When a truck carrying aid can't travel damaged roads, what about having the food walk itself? Live animals not only can traverse the difficult terrain of areas in Afghanistan, but lamb and sheep are a natural and traditional part of the diet of the Afghan people.

In Wyoming we raise our sheep in conditions that are quite similar to those in Afghanistan. Rough terrain, little water, and high altitude make raising stock a challenging task. The ranchers of Wyoming have, over the course of time, developed sheep herds that thrive in these conditions. Why shouldn't we share this knowledge with the Afghan herders?

Last year I requested the Department of Agriculture and the US Agency for International Development consider the shipment of live lamb to Afghanistan. While I understand their objections based on cost and logistics, I do not believe we should fully disregard this option. Live animals, especially those native to a country, don't just feed a person for a day. They can feed a family. And if a family receives breeding animals, it can revive its own herd, allowing the family to eat for weeks, months, and years.

The goal here must be to give the people of Afghanistan the ability to sustain themselves. We can expand the type of food we send and how we send it, but we should also consider how to teach independence.

In addition to being a supporter of Wyoming's lamb and sheep industry, I am also a strong supporter of small businesses. These enterprises can offer unique talents and problem-solving skills larger industries and governments do not have.

I must ask, are we teaching people in Afghanistan how to build independence through their own businesses as well as providing food? Not only does the establishment of more small businesses in Afghanistan help bring about stability and a strong local economy, they give people the pride of being independent. That pride in one's work and business is good for the family and good for the nation.

Food aid and small business assistance can go forward hand in hand. The key must be not getting stuck in traditional thinking about aid. The United States must examine all options, even ones which seem unfeasible at first glance. When we limit our alternatives of aid, we hurt the international community, and we hurt the people of Afghanistan.

I hope the United States will continue its leadership in aid world-wide and I hope that we will consider all alternatives in aid.

Again, thank you President Kazai for visiting us and for your leadership through immensely difficult times. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.