Congressman Larry Kissell (NC-08) traveled to Afghan-istan over the weekend as part of a Congressional Delegation to receive operational assessments of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"It is important to be able to, first hand and directly, see what our troops are facing, and hear what our military leaders are saying," Kissell said.
"Our military leaders have told me they need more troops to be successful in their mission. They believe that we have a limited window of opportunity. I agree we should give them the troops needed to finish this mission and protect U.S. interests. At the same time, we must be firm that this must be done with the goal of bringing this war to an end sooner, not later. We cannot lose sight of the many priorities at home that we need to focus our resources on."
Kissell visited several Afghanistan military bases including Kandahar Air Field, Bagram Air Base, Camp Bastion, Camp Leatherneck and Patrol Base Jaker-Nawa. He was able to talk with troops, and spend time with many members of Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne.
Along with military progress, the trip was also an opportunity to assess the civilian progress.
"During a recent meeting with members of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction's office, they affirmed my concern that we need to have the Afghan people more involved in strengthening their own nation," Kissell said.
"During the trip, I met with provincial and village leaders to determine if this was being taken into account. I believe the Inspector General's office is correct. It is only by, with, and through the Afghan people that we will have success in Afghanistan and thus truly protect the long-term interests of the United States. Our military leaders concurred with that assessment. In spending time with our brave young men and women, it is also a stark reminder of the human toll of war. I have tremendous respect for the pride and determination they show in performing their mission. We, as a nation, should be ever mindful of the sacrifices they and their families back home make as they fight to protect our interests and our way of life."
This was Kissell's second time in Afghanistan. In April, he traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait to make ground level assessments.