WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-NM, today talked with reporters from around the state about his trip last week to Afghanistan and Pakistan to visit with troops on the ground and meet with key stakeholders in the region. To listen to the audio, click here. To view photos from Udall’s trip, click here.
Below is a time key of Senator Udall’s remarks:
00:00 – Udall opens the conversation by re-capping his trip to Pakistan. He also gives his opinion on the counter-insurgency strategy going forward.
06:30 – Talks about his visit in Pakistan, including a meeting with the president and the work being done to keep the Taliban out of the country. Discusses the dangers of safe havens for the Taliban in Pakistan and says that we must ensure the Taliban are not recharging and rebuilding there.
09:58 – Discusses a comment that President Karzai made in a closed meeting about joining the Taliban.
11:14 – Gives his thoughts on the strategy to transfer of troops out of Afghanistan beginning in July 2011. Says that, by that date, the people of Afghanistan must begin taking ownership of the fight and be prepared to stand on their own.13:30 – Discusses the condition for deployed British troops that they fight side-by-side with Afghani soldiers. Says that the United States should adopt the same strategy with the 30,000 additional troops being sent.
15:00 – Talks about training Afghani troops in preparation for the transfer of American troops out of the country. Discusses the importance of Afghani troops being able to fight on their own.
17:33 – Stresses the importance of Afghani troops fighting side by side with coalition forces.
18:42 – Expresses his concern with an open-ended or indefinite engagement in Afghanistan. Notes the unsustainable costs in American lives and taxpayer dollars.
21:00 – Talks about whether Afghanistan’s leaders can be reliable partners for the U.S., given the corruption in the recent presidential election and the local governance process in Afghanistan.