AshLee StrongDoug Andres
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has concluded a two-day congressional delegation (CODEL) visit to Afghanistan. He was joined by House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX). While in country, Ryan and Thornberry met with U.S. troops to thank them for their continued service and sacrifice, met with military and State Department officials to assess progress following the implementation of the president’s South Asia strategy, and met with senior Afghan and coalition officials.

“For my last visit overseas as Speaker of the House and as a member of Congress, on behalf of our entire country, I wanted to thank the men and women who continue to sacrifice every day in the war against global terrorism,” Ryan said. “This conflict—the sacrifices being made—matter. These brave soldiers have served, many on repeat deployments, and America stands firmly behind them in our gratitude.

“In addition to thanking our troops, assessing the conflict on-the-ground was important in informing the legislative branch. The future of Afghanistan will be written by their security services and I was heartened to hear of the progress that Afghan special mission units, including the Commandos, have made in degrading the threat of terrorism in their own country. They have suffered significant casualties and continue to persevere against a determined enemy.

“After this visit, it is clear to me that the president’s South Asia strategy must be given an opportunity to succeed. Fighting terrorism in this region remains in our nation’s vital interest and it is clear the current momentum of our military campaign is underpinning our diplomatic efforts to set the conditions for reconciliation.”

The delegation traveled to several locations in Afghanistan including Camp Morehead near the capital of Kabul, Camp Gamberi in the east, and Camp Shorab in the south. Ryan and Thornberry met with U.S. Ambassador John Bass, General Austin S. Miller, and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, among other U.S. and Afghan senior officials.

Speaker Ryan’s visit comes just weeks after Congress passed, and the president signed into law, the first Department of Defense funding bill enacted on time in ten years. As part of a historic defense buildup, this legislation funds an increase in the size of our forces, upgrades our military infrastructure, and boosts our readiness capabilities.

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