U.S. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) is making his way back to New Jersey after a trip to Afghanistan this week. Frelinghuysen, a senior Member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee met with senior military leaders, including the Commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), General David Petraeus. He also conferred with the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry.
"President Obama's decision, months ago, to "surge' additional troops into Afghanistan apparently has only until July 2011 to produce the desired result," said Frelinghuysen. "However, not in question is his excellent choice of General David Petraeus to lead and the effectiveness and courage of so many of our fighting men and women who face down a cruel and barbaric enemy each and every day. We owe them a tremendous debt for their ongoing sacrifice."
"I was impressed and heartened by the progress I saw firsthand during my visit," Frelinghuysen said. "In addition to General Petraeus, I conferred with Lieutenant General David Rodriquez (ISAF Joint Commander) and Major General John Campbell (ISAF Regional Commander East) and their State Department and USAID counterparts. I also met with New Jersey soldiers and civilians, many of whom feel their various missions are really contributing to an independent Afghanistan and speeding their own departures."
"I am much more optimistic about our progress than I was before I visited here," he said. "However, a premature withdrawal would jeopardize the gains I have seen, both military and humanitarian."
Frelinghuysen served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam.