Rep. Mike Pence (IN) visited Afghanistan over the weekend and wrote a lengthy blog post about his visit, including a round of photographs. Here is an excerpt from Day 1 of his journey:
We departed Dubai Airport at 4 a.m. and, after almost five hours in the cargo hold of an Air Force C-130, we touched down in Kabul, Afghanistan. Kabul is a dusty city whose streets are filled with older European cars, donkey carts and pedestrians of every age darting between traffic.
After a command update with International Security Assistance Force personnel, we made our way to Camp Eggers, the center of coalition force efforts in Kabul. From the first moment I arrived, it was apparent that things are different than they were a year ago, and they are different for the better.
One year ago, President Obama announced a July 2011 deadline for U.S. withdrawal, and the effect in Afghanistan was a resurgent Taliban. As the Prime Minister of the Parliament told me during my trip here last year, the Taliban used that date for recruitment, making the case that the Americans would leave and they would be back in power in 2011.
Today, with due credit to the Administration, General David Petreaus, and our troops, that so-called deadline has been adjusted. This very weekend in Lisbon, the president reiterated that 2014 was the proper date when Afghan forces will take the lead. By all accounts, the improvement in morale among Afghan and coalition forces can be traced to this adjusted timetable.
The high point of these trips for me is always the chance to meet Hoosier soldiers far from home. I met a few constituents for lunch and got their take on things. Each of them told me that the security situation is greatly improved from a year ago.