As vote counting continues in Afghanistan’s presidential election, House Speaker John Boehner met Monday with U.S. officials in Kabul and urged that the U.S. maintain enough troops in the country to stabilize the government after more than a decade of conflict.
Boehner, R-West Chester Twp., led a delegation of seven senior House Republican lawmakers as they also mingled with some of the American forces stationed in Afghanistan. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, U.S. and European forces invaded Afghanistan to break up the al-Aqaeda networks that planned the attacks.
In a statement, Boehner said U.S. forces have “fought to bring peace and security to Afghanistan and to ensure it can never again be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States.’’
“Now, the Afghans are poised to elect a new government,’’ Boehner said. We must honor the sacrifices of the Americans and Afghans who have given so much to reach this point and continue our work together.’’
Afghans voted earlier this month for a new president to replace Hamid Karzai. Early returns indicate a close race between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.
Boehner’s delegation met today with U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham and Marine General Joseph F. Dunford, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan. More than 30,000 American soldiers remain in the country and President Barack Obama has not yet decided whether any will remain in Afghanistan by next year.
Boehner was making his fourth trip to Afghanistan. He previously visited the country in 2007, 2009 and 2011.