01.21.11

A Message from Senator Richard Burr

While the Senate was in recess, I got the opportunity to travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Pat Toomey (R-PA). We met with U.S. troops, military officials and political leaders to discuss our military involvement, as well political and economic issues affecting Afghanistan and Pakistan. I also had the chance to meet with troops serving from North Carolina, as well as General David Petraeus, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir of Pakistan, and Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army.

So much has changed in Afghanistan since my last visit a year ago. General Petraeus and the actions of our and allied forces on the ground have yielded important security gains in the southern provinces of Afghanistan. The progress was evident as we were able to walk through village bazaars and travel across regions of the country which just last year were Taliban strongholds.

I am optimistic that we have started to turn the corner and that we will be in a position to hand over regions of the country to Afghan control this spring. There will be setbacks, as there always are, butour brave men and women are making great progress in a difficult environment.

I am grateful to the C-130 crews who joined us on our journey. I am also grateful to the Blackhawk pilots who spent a tremendous amount of time transporting us around the country. We could not have made our assessments without their skills. To see pictures from our trip, please click here.

I have also been traveling throughout the state to speak with North Carolinians about the many issues affecting them. I have had the opportunity to tour manufacturing facilities, visit with students, and speak with the employees and employers who are directly impacting our economy.

The Senate is back in session next week, and I will be Washington. On Tuesday, the President will address Congress and the entire country in his State of the Union address. It is my hope that he will focus on one of the most pressing issues of our time: our $14 trillion National Debt.



Stay tuned to my website and Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter for updates from Washington once we are back in session.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Richard Burr