From Afghanistan, Reid Says Bolstered Efforts Needed

Posted August 6, 2008 at 2:07pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that his trip to Afghanistan and Central Asia has only made him more convinced that the United States needs to beef up its anti-terrorism forces in the region.

On a press call from Kyrgyzstan, Reid said generals in Afghanistan “made it pretty clear that they need more resources.”

“We’ve been so focused on Iraq, as we all know, Afghanistan has not received the attention or resources that it needs,” Reid said. He also expressed support for Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ plan to send as many as 10,000 more soldiers to the region as troop reductions in Iraq continue. A resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida in the region led to the decision to increase troops.

Reid said he decided to travel to Afghanistan because “we’re at a crucial point with what we’re doing with this country.”

Although Reid met with several U.S. generals as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, he said he was not able to tour many parts of Afghanistan because of powerful wind storms that made helicopter travel difficult.

Reid also met with Nevada troops at the Manas Coalition Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, which provides support and logistics to soldiers in Afghanistan.

Reid’s next stops will be in Kazakhstan and then Ramstein Air Base in Germany to visit with injured troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reid is traveling with a bipartisan delegation of Senators, including Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).