Abraham meets with Afghan President Ghani, US military commanders in Afghanistan
Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, participated in a Congressional oversight visit to Afghanistan and Kuwait during the week of Thanksgiving. He joined five other members of Congress in meetings with U.S. military commanders, American troops and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
“Easily the highlight of my trip was eating Thanksgiving Day meals with men and women from Louisiana who are fighting for us,” Dr. Abraham said, “but what I was most struck by is how enthusiastic and optimistic our troops are about their mission in fighting Islamic extremism and establishing a stable government in Afghanistan.”
During the meeting with Ghani, Dr. Abraham learned how Ghani’s administration has brought stability to the government and has taken aggressive roles in both combat missions and rooting out corruption.
“President Ghani’s forces have taken over conducting combat missions against the Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIS. He and a committee sit down each week and he personally goes through government contracts to root out corruption. I believe he is the right man at the right time to lead that country,” Dr. Abraham said.
Gen. John Campbell, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, briefed Dr. Abraham and others on the trip about the role of the U.S. military in Afghanistan. American troops have taken on a more advisory role and offer air support to Ghani’s defense forces. Campbell said there are signs that enemy combatants are fractured, and the United State’s strategy is working.
While progress is being made in Afghanistan, both Ghani and Campbell agree that the United States should continue its involvement in the country for the time being. Dr. Abraham supports that position.
“These guys are on the ground every day, so I trust their assessment of the situation,” Dr. Abraham said. “We do see a path to an exit, but we aren’t there yet. It would be a mistake to leave prematurely because it would undo years of work and sacrifices, including the loss of American lives. We have to finish the mission and fight them over there so that we aren’t fighting them here.”
Military personnel also echoed Dr. Abraham’s belief that ISIS can be defeated with an increased American air presence and the freedom to pursue the enemy where they exist.
“ISIS exists because President Obama failed to listen to his military advisers and pulled out our troops too early. I’m glad he’s listening in Afghanistan and will leave a US presence in the country, but he should also listen when his military says that now is the time to eliminate ISIS for good. If we increase our air strikes, we’d provide the support that our allies in the region need to send in ground troops. ISIS can be beaten, but we need stronger leadership from the President to finish the job,” Dr. Abraham said.
Other members on the trip included Reps. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.; Phil Roe, R-Tenn.; Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas; Mark Takano, D-Calif.; and Ann Kuster, D-NH.