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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bright Returns from Fact-Finding Trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan

U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Montgomery, returned from a House Armed Services Congressional Delegation fact-finding trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to a press release.

The delegation, which left Washington on Sept. 3, examined civil, military, and political counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism initiatives in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The delegation focused specifically on interagency cooperation, special operations, intelligence and development in the countries.

“Pakistan and Afghanistan are two of the most important countries from an American foreign-policy perspective,” Bright said. “We have been actively engaged in Afghanistan for nearly eight years, and Pakistan’s cooperation is vital for success in the greater global war on terror. It is essential for me to get a first-hand perspective on the situations on the ground in each country, and to better understand our goals and challenges in the region as a whole.”

In Afghanistan, Bright received briefings on counternarcotics, police training, and the recent Afghani elections. He also was briefed on the status and effectiveness of existing aid programs to the region by the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry.

Bright also received a briefing from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, who recently issued an assessment of operations in Afghanistan to President Obama and is widely expected to make a follow-up request for more troops.

“Given the increased role of the military and the national elections, visiting Afghanistan was especially important and timely,” Bright said. “Gen. McChrystal reiterated to me what he told to the President: the situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is possible with the strategy and commitment. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to provide those soldiers and commanders with the support they need to be successful in the region.”

In Pakistan, Bright met with Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and Army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Other Pakistani officials he met with included General Muhammad Masood Aslam, Commander of XI Corps, and General Tariq Khan, Inspector General of the Frontier Corps. Bright also met with U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson and American service members and civilians.

Bright is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, as well as the subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities that sponsored the CODEL. This is his second trip to the region. Early this year, he visited Afghanistan and Iraq.

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks


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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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