Iowa Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, says he saw some good signs in visit to Afghanistan this past weekend. King says it was the first time he’d been to the country in 14 months. He says on balance it seemed safer in cities like Kabul than he’s seen it in the past.
King says there seems to be a stability in some of the urban areas of the country, but there are other areas where the U.S. does not have much presence. King says moving forward in the country, the current administration’s plan sounds familiar. King says in listening to the briefings on the plan and strategy and reinforcing the troops there with 30-thousand more soldiers, it “sounds almost exactly like the Bush doctrine.”
He says the goals for the troops of clear, and build, hold and transfer to the Afghan people are the same goals of the Bush administration, and King says in talking with the Afghan prime minister, he agrees with that goal. King says he supports the administration’s plan, but has doubts about being able to accomplish it in the 18-month time frame set as a goal.
“I think the strategy is a minimalist strategy, it’s only 75-percent of the minimum number of troops asked for by General McChrystal. And I think the strategy can work,” King says. He says if anything goes wrong he doesn’t know what contingency plans we have or what redundancies there are in the plan and he would like to see a plan that has both the contingencies and redundancies that would ensure a greater level of success. King says there needs to be more said about the focus of the plan.
King says he will support the plan and strategy, and will encourage more resources, but he was we all have to define “who is our enemy.” King says we went to Afghanistan to go after Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and that was the message of President Obama and candidate Obama. But he says no one in Afghanistan today talks about al-Qaida. King says the enemy we need to seek is the taliban.
He says more also needs to be done to cut the poppy production that is used to make heroin. He says there is some effort going on to reduce the poppy trade but he says unless more is done, the poppy trade will continue to provide funding for our enemy and make it difficult to achieve something we can define as a victory. Some 3,500 Iowa soldiers are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan.