WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement about his recent Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Last year, after months of intense discussion and careful deliberation, President Obama laid out his comprehensive strategy for a new way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Having supported the President’s thoughtful, sound strategy from the beginning, I wanted to see firsthand how it was being implemented. Last week, I was privileged to lead a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trip to this important and volatile region. While there, I met with key leaders, including President Karzai of Afghanistan, President Zardari of Pakistan, and the Chief of Army Staff Kayani, also in Pakistan.
“In Afghanistan, I was struck by how the overall prospects there have improved. For the first time since 2001, the United States is fully engaged in addressing the challenges we face in Afghanistan, ensuring that diplomatic and military efforts are robust, strategically deployed, and well coordinated. While progress is difficult to measure and ultimate success remains uncertain, our trip convinced me we have the right strategy, the right U.S. leadership, and are finally providing the necessary resources to make progress in Afghanistan. For months I have said that the President’s strategy is our exit strategy and I believe this now more than ever having seen evidence of the effectiveness of this strategy.
“As we move forward in Afghanistan we must also strengthen our commitment to working with Pakistan. Pakistan is of critical strategic importance to the U.S. and I am strongly committed a long-term, sustainable partnership with Pakistan. As part of this effort we should continue assisting the Pakistanis as they confront militancy and terrorism within their own country and partner with the Pakistani people to encourage where ever possible good government, improved security, and economic growth.
“While the future remains uncertain, this trip has left me more hopeful than I have been in a long time. The President and the countless Americans serving our country in the military and diplomatic corps in these countries deserve immense credit, our deepest thanks, and our continued strong support for their efforts.”