Congressman Perry's Statement on Recent Trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan
Last week, Congressman Scott Perry took part in a bi-partisan Congressional Delegation trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan along with other members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The trip took place from late Wednesday, October 30 until Monday, November 4. The other participants were Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Congressman Juan Vargas (D-CA).
“The United States has vital national security interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the objective of this trip was for Congress to get the facts-on-the-ground directly from our troops, commanders and diplomats serving in country.
America has sacrificed too many resources and American lives to simply walk away from Afghanistan. Our delegation met with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai about our mutual desire to finalize a bilateral security agreement between our two nations. Such an agreement would allow the United States to draw down our forces while continuing to assist, advise and train the Afghan army to assume security for their country. Doing so is in America’s interests, as it allows the Afghans to provide a strong counter to the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in country. We were not able to finalize a similar security agreement with Iraq and now see the ramifications of that given the recent surge in violence in that country led by an emboldened Al Qaeda.
I’m supportive of such an agreement as long as it’s based on America’s tactical and strategic needs, not an artificial timeline designed to fit a political narrative here at home. An artificial withdrawal from Afghanistan could also destabilize countries in the region, such as Pakistan and India, both of which are nuclear powers.
As we were in Pakistan, a drone strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban’s leadership council, Hakimullah Mehsud, a man known to have targeted and killed many Americans, Afghans and Pakistanis. This incident underscores the fact that the tribal regions in Pakistan remain a very dangerous breeding ground for terrorism and a national security threat.
Finally, in addition to our diplomatic and security discussions, our delegation wanted to focus on human rights issues in the region, especially women’s rights. We met with victims of human rights abuses as well as Afghan and Pakistani citizens working diligently to improve quality of life in their countries.”