New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke to reporters yesterday about her trip to the region last week. She says there's been progress, but she has concerns about U.S. partners there. Martha Foley has more.
President Obama is expected to present a four-year plan to wind down the war in Afghanistan at a NATO summit later this week. According to the New York Times, the plan calls for beginning to transfer security duties to Afghan forces over the next two years, with an eye toward ending the U.S. mission in Afghanistan by 2014.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand just returned from a tour of the region last week. She says she agrees with that timetable. But she says Afghanistan and Pakistan will have to step up.
"Americans do not support a military campaign without end and we must see greater progress from other countries and our partners in the region to match the commitments that we’ve made. We need to give the strategy a chance to work but ther should be no rubber stamps."
Speaking to reporters over the phone, Gillibrand said she has ``grave concerns'' about Afghan President Hamid Karzai. She said she’s concerned Karzai hasn’t taken a hard line against corruption.
"It remains one of the biggest concerns because if you don’t have a reliable partner in Karzai and you don’t have the ability to root out corruption and root out the drug trade, it undermines every success our military has made."
Gillibrand said she noted signs of progress during her visit. She says U.S. troops are “on track” to training 300,000 Afghan soldiers by the end of next year.
Gillibrand met with General David Petraeus, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan. She also met with Fort Drum commander, General James Terry. His 10th Mountain Division headquarters in deployed in the south central part of the country, which includes the strategically important city of Kandahar.