[UPDATE] 10:00AM --
Rubio said a lot still needs to be done, but the Taliban's
momentum in southern Afghanistan has been reversed and there has been progress establishing structured government in many areas.
But he said Afghan citizens fear that if the United States
withdraws troops too soon, the Taliban and al-Qaeda will step in.
He said the U.S. shouldn't measure its success in troop
withdrawals, but rather progress on the ground.
Senator Marco Rubio Release:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announced today that he and six other Senators just ended a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
On the trip, Senator Rubio was joined by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Senators Lindsey Graham (SC), Richard Burr (NC), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Ron Johnson (WI) and Pat Toomey (PA).
While traveling in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Senator Rubio met with U.S. troops, military officials and political leaders to discuss political, economic and security issues affecting bilateral relations, including General David Petraeus, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir of Pakistan, and Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army.
On Sunday in Afghanistan, Senator Rubio visited the Kabul Military Training Center which is the largest training base in the country for Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers. At the center, Senator Rubio spoke with several ANA soldiers. The U.S. Navy photo taken by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ernesto Hernandez Fonte of Senator Rubio at the Kabul Military Training Center is attached.
Senator Rubio also had the privilege and honor of meeting Floridians serving their country overseas. Their efforts and sacrifices are ensuring that Florida and America are more secure. Senator Rubio returns to Florida on Tuesday.
[UPDATE] 9:40AM --
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) --
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has wrapped up a visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan where he met with military officials, political leaders and U.S. troops.
McConnell was accompanied by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Ayotte of New
Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Marco Rubio of Florida and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Kentucky's senior senator told reporters Monday that he especially noted that Taliban momentum in the South, which had been
a stronghold, has been "completely reversed."
The delegation met with Gen. General David Petraeus, Afghan
President Hamid Karzai, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir of
Pakistan, and Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
The group arrives back in Washington on Tuesday.
MIAMI (AP) --
Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been checking out the Afghan National Army.
Rubio was among seven Republican senators who got a demonstration by the Afghan troops Sunday (Jan. 16) at the Kabul Military Training Center.
According to a press release from the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, the demonstration included a training exercise in
which the Afghan troops staged an ambush.
The other senators on the trip were Mitch McConnell of Kentucky,
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard Burr of North Carolina,
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Kelly
Ayotte of New Hampshire.