AFGHANISTAN Members learn from making trip behind times

The most effective education on world trouble spots requires going there. So, just before Thanksgiving, a group of members of Congress went to Afghanistan. There, they talked with both U.S. forces and officials and Afghans, including that nation’s president, Ashraf Ghani.

Making the trip were Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah; and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio.

Many Americans seem eager for President Donald Trump to simply pull U.S. forces out of Afghanistan, and the sooner, the better. Some representatives came away with a different impression.

“It was clear to me during this trip that the areas our military is working on, in terms of counter-terrorism, are exceedingly important to helping the Afghan national forces, national police, and their government secure more of their territory,” Capito commented in a statement released after she returned to the United States.

But why is that important? Has not “nation building” been demonstrated to be a failed U.S. policy?

If U.S. forces fail to support the Afghan government, “they risk being overtaken by very violent terrorist groups, which in turn will endanger our homeland,” Capito explained.

One photograph taken during her trip illustrates Capito’s point indirectly. It shows Gillibrand, along with Sens. Ernst and Capito, posing with members of the Afghan National Security Force. All of them are women.

Since U.S. forces ousted the former Taliban government in Afghanistan, women and girls have enjoyed freedoms they were denied under that murderous regime. If the Taliban regain power — as they are striving by violent means to do — there is little doubt they will resume their repression of women, not to mention religious minorities.

That sort of mindset by former Taliban leaders led them to shelter al-Qaida terrorists including Osama bin Laden, as that group will planning its Sept. 11, 2001, assault on America.

Trump has been handling the Taliban cautiously, reacting to some of their attacks by suspending peace talks. Now, it appears negotiations have resumed.

Simply giving in to the Taliban would serve neither Afghans nor Americans. Capito is right: The fight in Afghanistan is not just about that country, but also ours.


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