Monday, January 17, 2011

Toomey to Afghan Pres.: Get Rid of Corruption

Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey took his first trip abroad as a U.S. Senator spending the last few days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Toomey and three other freshman Republicans joined Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the trip. They spent the past few days meeting with military and political leaders, including General David Petraeus.
Toomey says he delivered a message to Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai.

"The main point that I wanted to stress with him was that his government needed to do more to rat out the corruption that has been, really, very pervasive. I was perhaps a little bit more subtle about it than that, but that was really my essential point."

Toomey says Karzai needs to turn Afghanistan’s government around.

"We’ve put so much resource. We’ve sacrificed many lives. And the ongoing expense of this effort is very significant at a time when we have serious budget constraints. And my message was that it’s really critical for his government to aggressively pursue corruption."

Toomey last visited Afghanistan in 2002, when he was a congressman.
He says there’s a “night and day” difference in the capital city of Kabul, since his last trip, with much more commerce and traffic in the city this time.
Still, Toomey says there’s a lot of work to be done in Afghanistan.
He says he assumes American troops will still be there in 2016, when his Senate term expires.

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