Thank you for contacting me about the United States' presence in Afghanistan. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to share my thoughts with you on this important subject.
A secure and stable Afghanistan is in the direct national security interests of the United States. We cannot allow Afghanistan to once again become a safe haven for terrorists to plan attacks against America and our allies. Our operations in Afghanistan must disrupt, dismantle, and destroy al Qaida and other terrorist groups who threaten the U.S.
I recently returned from a trip to visit Washington state soldiers, as well as military and civilian leaders, in Afghanistan. I was impressed by the high morale among American troops and civilian officials. It is clear they feel good about the work they are doing in both security operations and economic development. After nine years, the U.S. is finally redirecting its focus from Iraq to getting our troops and civilians in Afghanistan the resources they need to do their job.
The increase in civilian personnel in Afghanistan is helping to improve governance and economic development in the region. Two years ago there were 400 civilians from the U.S. and other coalition countries, and now there are expected to be 1,200 civilians by the end of 2010, who are collaborating with local communities to identify projects that will help each region of the country grow and stabilize. This civilian surge finally begins to let us satisfy some of the desires of what American people want us to do: let the Afghan people build their own country.
The U.S. military and civilian officials are working to help Afghanistan take the lead in security operations and economic development. To accomplish this goal, the U.S. must continue training personnel to serve in the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, and we must continue providing them with the equipment they need to do their job.
However, as Afghans start taking more control and responsibility, I am concerned by the statements and actions of Afghan leadership regarding corruption, including President Hamid Karzai's recent decision to limit the involvement of Western countries in the investigation of official corruption in Afghanistan. Karzai must take a zero-tolerance stance against corruption to ensure the Taliban is the enemy and not a choice.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will continue to review the Administration's strategy in Afghanistan. In the coming months, it is time for the U.S. and Afghanistan government to put pen to paper to decide what our strategic relationship will look like in the future.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to write me again about issues that are important to you.
United States Representative
Washington State, 2nd District
" I GUESS MR LARSEN FAILED HISTORY CLASS IN HIGH SCHOOL
AFGHANISTAN HAS BEEN THE GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS "