Read his statement, including Petraeus info, here.
Speaker Boehner-Led Congressional Delegation Visits Afghanistan, Meets with General Petraeus & President Karzai
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) visited Afghanistan on Tuesday and Wednesday, continuing a six-member congressional delegation trip that began in Iraq on Saturday. The delegation’s visit comes as the Obama Administration has stated it will begin drawing down troops in July despite concerns about whether sufficient progress has been made in turning around the security environment, training Afghanistan’s security forces, and working with the Afghan government to improve its delivery of security and services to the Afghan people. Boehner issued the following statement on the delegation visit:
“Our visit gave us an on-the-ground perspective of the opportunities and challenges facing our troops and civilians. While the conditions remain difficult in Afghanistan, our troops are making gains in their efforts to improve security and prevent al Qaeda and the Taliban from using the region as a safe haven from which to launch attacks on the U.S. and our allies. It’s also clear that there are immense challenges in building a credible government on behalf of the Afghan people. We heard from President Karzai about his efforts to do so.
“During our meeting with General Petraeus, he noted that security gains have been made in Afghanistan, but that they are fragile and reversible. That is why we must remain steadfast in our commitment to the counterinsurgency strategy our commanders on the ground have put in place and to ensuring its success, rather than focusing on meeting arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal. Any drawdown of U.S. troops must be based on the conditions on the ground, not on political calculations. If the Obama Administration insists on beginning to draw down troops in July, it must explain how the pace and scope of such a move will not undermine the tenuous progress we’ve made thus far. To date, it has not done so.
“Succeeding in Afghanistan is critically important to the safety and security of our country. We sincerely appreciate the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform, our diplomats, and their families are making every day on behalf of our nation.”
NOTE: Joining Speaker Boehner on the delegation visit are Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Joe Heck (R-NV), and Dan Boren (D-OK). During the two-day visit, the delegation received updates from General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and international military forces; U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry; Lt. General David Rodriguez, the commander of NATO-International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command; Lt. General Bill Caldwell, the commander of NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan; U.S. Embassy – Kabul senior diplomats; the commanders and senior civilian representatives in Regional Command – East, Regional Command – South, and Regional Command – Southwest; and U.S. troops from the Members’ home states.