House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has led a congressional delegation on a visit to Afghanistan. Her office said in a statement Sunday night the bipartisan delegation met with top Afghan leaders, civil society representatives and U.S. military chiefs and troops serving there.
"Our delegation received briefings from Ambassador John Bass and other top diplomats on reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, which has been responsible for violent attacks in Afghanistan. We also heard more about the still-pending status of results from the Afghanistan presidential election in September, which we all hope will be available soon," Pelosi said in a statement.
Pelosi added, "Our delegation emphasized the central importance of combating the corruption which endangers security and undermines the Afghan people's ability to achieve a stable and prosperous future. We underscored that the women of Afghanistan must be at the table for reconciliation talks."
"Meeting with and hearing directly from our troops and diplomats on the ground is essential for Congress to conduct effective oversight of our mission in Afghanistan. We will return to Washington strengthened with the facts and the first-hand knowledge we have gathered at this critical time for our nation's Afghanistan policy and inspired by the courage of our servicemembers and diplomats on the front lines."
Pelosi says the delegation emphasized the importance of combating corruption and ensuring women are at the table in reconciliation talks. The unannounced trip briefly overlapped with one by Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Pelosi and the delegation stopped in Afghanistan after a visit to Jordan.
"We were pleased that our delegation was able to briefly compare notes with Defense Secretary Esper, who was also visiting Afghanistan," Pelosi noted.
She says while Afghan women have made progress in some areas, more must be done to ensure their security as well as economic and educational opportunities for women and girls there.