US top government official makes a secret visit to Afghanistan
KABUL: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation have concluded an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, Pelosi’s office said Sunday evening.
The secret trip was made as Pelosi led the high-level congressional delegation to Jordan this weekend, where her office says they discussed Middle East peace and Syria with members of the country’s royal family.
The group, consisting of eight Democrats and one Republican, met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, as well as the country’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, and other senior Afghanistan government officials, according to a statement from Pelosi’s office. Defense Secretary Mark Esper visited the country at the same time for the first time in this role, and met with the delegation.
The delegation discussed security, governing and economic development during the visit, according to the statement. The group also traveled to Camp Morehead to meet with coalition troops.
“Our delegation emphasized the central importance of combating the corruption which endangers security and undermines the Afghan people’s ability to achieve a stable and prosperous future,” Pelosi said in the statement. “We underscored that the women of Afghanistan must be at the table for reconciliation talks.”
The nine-member delegation included House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson and lone Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee who has announced he won’t seek reelection.
The delegation focused on reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, among other topics.
“Meeting with and hearing directly from our troops and diplomats on the ground is essential for Congress to conduct effective oversight of our mission in Afghanistan,” Pelosi said. “We will return to Washington strengthened with the facts and the first-hand knowledge we have gathered at this critical time for our nation’s Afghanistan policy and inspired by the courage of our servicemembers and diplomats on the front lines.” Courtesy: (CNN)