October 14, 2010

Whitehouse Travels to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to Meet with Rhode Island Troops, Foreign Leaders

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has concluded a trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan during which he heard from American troops and foreign officials about the progress of U.S. efforts.  Whitehouse traveled first to Afghanistan, to Kabul and Kandahar, for an update on our efforts to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and improve the Afghan government’s ability to provide security.  He then visited Iraq, traveling to Baghdad and Ramadi, to learn about the state of the country following the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops, and concluded his trip with a stop in Pakistan, visiting Islamabad and Peshawar.

In Afghanistan, Whitehouse met with senior diplomats and military officials including the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Defense Minister Wardak, and Governor of Kandahar Province, Tooryalai Wesa.

“I’m always grateful for the opportunity to hear from our troops on the ground and thank them for their service,” said Whitehouse.  “Now that we have ended combat operations in Iraq, our military leaders are working hard to implement President Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.  These efforts are essential to the future stability of the region, and, while many challenges remain, I came away with the belief that General Petraeus and our troops can accomplish this mission.”

During the weeklong trip, Whitehouse also met in Iraq with Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and other party leaders trying to form an Iraqi government, and U.S. Ambassador Jeffreys and General Austin, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.  In Pakistan, Whitehouse met with President Asif Ali Zardari and security officials including Army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Kayani, as well as Ambassador Anne Patterson and Admiral Mike Lefever.  He also met with Rhode Island troops and civilian officials stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, traveled as part of a congressional delegation with U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).  The trip marked Whitehouse’s fourth visit to Iraq, fourth visit to Afghanistan, and third visit to Pakistan.

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