U.S. Rep. Ron Kind today returned from a Congressional delegation trip to Afghanistan and India.
While in Afghanistan, Kind had the opportunity to meet with the leadership team and members of the Wisconsin National Guard 1157 Transportation Company.
"Nothing has made me more proud to be an American than seeing, firsthand, the job our troops do under difficult circumstances to keep our country safe," said Rep. Kind. "I had the chance to meet with Captain Chris Menden and our National Guard 1157th, who are doing an excellent job providing route security for U.S. forces drawing down in Afghanistan. I also talked with General John Allen, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, who couldn't be more thankful for the work our troops are doing and more excited to have the help of western Wisconsin's 229th Engineer Company."
Kind participated in the deployment ceremony of Wisconsin Army National Guard 229th Engineer Company in Prairie du Chien in late August. The 159 men and women who make up the 229th are now based in southern Afghanistan, in the Kandahar Province, where they are performing engineer construction missions.
During the trip, Kind also met with high ranking U.S. and Afghan government officials, including General Allen and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham, as well as President Karzai's National Security Advisor and Minister of Defense. He also spent time with special ops forces for briefings on their mission to disband Taliban and Al Qaeda forces and private business leaders to discuss U.S. national security, foreign policy, trade, and development priorities.
"Based on my observation, I believe the Afghan forces are capable of assuming more of the frontline mission in the region, allowing us to pull back our troops so that they can return home as soon as possible. According to the President's plan, 33,000 troops were withdrawn this year and all combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014, shortly after Afghan national elections are held. I look forward to working with the Administration to make sure we can get our men and women home safe and sound and get to work doing some of our own nation building."
This was Kind's second trip to Afghanistan and first trip to India. In addition, Kind has visited the Middle East several times, including Pakistan once and Iraq on four different occasions.