On Congressional Delegation Trip, Senator Met with Key Government and Military Leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan to Discuss Counterterrorism Efforts, Drug Trafficking, and Regional Stability; Senator Now Visiting India Before Returning to the U.S.
NEW DELHI, INDIA -- U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) this week discussed counterterrorism efforts, drug trafficking, and regional stability with government and military leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She also met with the top U.S. general in Afghanistan as well as other American troops – including one service member from New Hampshire – and embassy personnel. Senator Hassan arrived today in India for additional meetings with government and business leaders.
For pictures from Senator Hassan's trip, click here.
As Afghanistan continues to tally results in its presidential election, the visit from Senators Hassan and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) focused on the United States' efforts to promote stability, the future of Afghanistan, and counterterrorism efforts. The Senators visited Camp Vance as well as Camp Morehead, where U.S. and NATO troops were training Afghan commandos. They also received briefings on the security situation by U.S. Army General Austin Scott Miller, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission Commander. The Senators also visited with other U.S. service members, including Army Colonel Gabe Barton of Windham, N.H.
Senators Hassan and Van Hollen also met with current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and current Afghan CEO and presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, as well as several Afghan women officials who had represented Afghanistan in talks with the Taliban.
"Keeping Americans safe is my top priority – and stability as well as ongoing counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan are critical to those efforts," said Senator Hassan. "We heard directly from U.S. and Afghan officials about the threat posed to both of our countries from ISIS's growing regional affiliate. It was also important to hear from our military leaders and service members on the ground – including one from New Hampshire – about our ongoing efforts to detect and disrupt the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and train Afghan personnel in counterterrorism tactics. And I was glad to hear directly about the peace process and efforts to stabilize the country and region.”
Senators Hassan and Van Holen met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and officials from Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, as well as U.S. embassy officials. Discussions focused on the role Pakistan must play in joint counterterrorism work and regional stability. Senators Hassan and Van Hollen also visited Pakistani-controller Kashmir amid escalating tensions with India to observe conditions on the ground and push for a de-escalation of the situation, including calling on India to end its curfew, release prisoners, and restore communications, while also communicating to Pakistan officials that they must end all support for the Taliban and other terrorist groups in the areas. In addition, Senator Hassan met with American business leaders working in Pakistan.
"Pakistan has an important role to play in stabilizing Afghanistan, engaging in robust counterterrorism efforts, and strengthening the global economy," said Senator Hassan. "It was particularly helpful to discuss with key Pakistani leaders what more can be done to preempt terrorist attacks and prevent the spread of terrorist ideology. Moreover, it was important for us to communicate directly to Pakistan's senior leadership that they must end support for the Taliban and other terrorist groups. In addition, amid escalating tensions in Kashmir, it’s critical that we find ways to help de-escalate the situation on both sides.”
In India, Senator Hassan will be meeting with key government leaders, business leaders, and U.S. embassy officials, discussing the situation in Kashmir, the U.S.-India relationship, and international trade.