Since October 2001, our men and women in uniform have fought bravely to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. We cannot forget that in eight years, United States Forces and her allies have removed the Taliban from power, helped develop a new democratic Afghan government, and formed an Afghan National Security Force that is increasingly tasked with military operations. Unfortunately, a resurgence of the Taliban in Southern Afghan provinces and along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border highlights the amount of work that needs to be done if we are to remain victorious in Afghanistan.
We must find solutions to the complex issues and the still-increasing violence the country faces. In July, 2008, I traveled with a bipartisan delegation to Afghanistan where we listened to then-Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, who emphasized that increased troop numbers and technological resources in the form of unmanned aerial vehicle “Predators” are needed to proceed in Afghanistan.
I certainly agree with the military recommendations proposed by our generals in the field, but we must also do a better job working with the established tribal structures that exist if we are to fully have the support of the Afghan people. A diplomatic effort with local leaders is imperative if success is to be achieved. For this reason, I have had the privilege of holding talks with officials from the Department of State, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Afghan political leaders to emphasize the importance of local representation for the Afghan people.
There is still plenty of work to get done, and I look forward to working with the President and Members of Congress from both parties to address these issues.