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Senator Reid Makes First Visit to Afghanistan

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and a bipartisan delegation made a surprise visit to Afghanistan this week as part of a tour of Central Asia. Senator Reid, who was accompanied by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Sen Bill Nelson (R-Fl.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), said the delegation went to Afghanistan to gain "a better understanding of the issues that we deal with every day."

The delegation met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and discussed issues ranging from America’s military commitment to the expansion of rule of law. "I left Afghanistan recognizing that we have a real partner. I felt comfortable with President Karzai," explained Reid. "[He] has a lot of humility and recognizes there's a lot of things that needs to be done to improve Afghan's government."

In addition to President Karzai, the delegation met with American military officials for briefings on the security situation. "[We] had a briefing from the generals who are actually running the war [and] a briefing form the general who's actually doing the training of the Afghans," said Reid.

Sen. Reid expressed his satisfaction at the U.S.'s new commitment to what some have called the forgotten war. "We've been so focused on Iraq that, as we all know, that Afghanistan has not received the attention and the resources that it needs."
Reid also warned of threats from Pakistan's lawless tribal areas. "Everyone is very concerned about the tribal areas in Pakistan; because a lot of the equipment and people causing this trouble come through over there."

Overall, however, the senators came away with a positive view of the situation in Afghanistan. "The message we received from everyone is that the situation in the country is good. Progress is being made." Reid put the successes into perspective. "We are where we are, not where we, maybe, should be. But, remember, right after 9/11, we spent a little bit of time here and then left."

In addition to U.S. and Afghan officials, the senators also had time to eat lunch with soldiers from Nevada and to visit a vocational school in Kabul where students learn valuable skills like carpentry.

Related News: Reid Meets With U.S. Troops and Afghan President

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