GRANGER MEETS WITH GENERAL McCHRYSTAL ON EVE OF OBAMA TROOP ANNOUNCEMENT
Ongoing issues on the ground reflect White House indecision
Washington, DC- On the eve of President Obama’s troop increase announcement, Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12) returned from a trip to Afghanistan that included meetings with the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A), General Stanley McChrystal and Regional Commander of the ISAF Major General Nick Carter. The trip allowed the Congresswoman to have a first-hand look at the increasing challenges our military is facing in the combat theatre. Granger traveled to Afghanistan in her role as a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
In Granger’s meeting with General McChrystal, they discussed the General’s desire to see additional troops added to the mission in order to create the time and space necessary to allow Afghan security forces to be effectively trained so a functional, elected leadership can fully inherit the responsibility of governance. McChrystal described his strategy of focusing renewed military, political and economic efforts on population centers instead of on sparsely populated regions. In addition they discussed the need to revise election laws to better empower local officials and traditional leadership bodies such as the Loya Jirga. Finally, the General described a concerning general disaffection between the government and its people.
Granger acknowledged that she sees an uphill climb for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, but reiterated that the White House’s delays in forming a strategy have only led to added uncertainty, instability, and risk for the Afghans and for our troops on the ground.
"What I saw in Afghanistan concerns me,” Granger said. “We have a lot of work to do. But what I've seen over the last few months from the Obama administration concerns me even more. We have needed action and resolve but have only had meetings, discussions, and indecision. It is ironic that the same President who pushed for big government spending policies in record time has been unable to decide about a vital national security issue that directly impacts the safety and security of our troops and a population we have pledged to secure."
“The Congress must support our troops wherever they are stationed, no matter what the mission is. Success in Afghanistan is not something the United States can achieve alone - there must continue to be a combined, international effort that does not focus solely on military action, but also enhances the economic and political capacity of the Afghan people. I support General McChrystal's assessment, and believe it is critical that the Administration makes an immediate decision that supports the needs of our commanders and troops in the field.”
While traveling to southern Afghanistan, Granger experienced first-hand the turbulence that troubles the Kandahar region, which remains the center for Taliban forces. After leaving Kabul, Granger’s flight circled Kandahar but was unable to land due to an ensuing firefight on the ground that forced the plane to return to Bagram Air Force Base. Before the President’s announcement on Tuesday evening, Granger will go to the White House for a briefing on Obama’s long-anticipated Afghanistan strategy.
While in the region, Granger also visited with troops from Texas. She called their families upon her return to the United States.
Congresswoman Kay Granger is the Ranking Member on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.