(Host) Congressman Peter Welch says the United States needs to define its overall goals and mission in Afghanistan before committing thousands of additional troops to that country.
Welch participated in a special Congressional fact finding trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan over the weekend.
Speaking during a layover in Budapest, Hungary, Welch says the United States has the right to make certain that al-queda forces in Afghanistan don’t have the capability to launch any future terrorist attacks against this country:
(Welch) "Is the goal that we turn Afghanistan into a westerly European democracy obviously no that’s not what the goal can be even though that would be great for Afghanistan I believe that the goal has to be tied to protecting American national security and what is required in order to achieve that goal well we know we can’t allow al queada to have the operational base to launch another attack."
(Host) 1,800 Vermont Guard members are scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in several months. Welch says they’ll play a critical role there:
(Welch)"Because what their mission will be is to train and mentor Afghan police and Afghan army units and obviously the success long term for Afghanistan not only with dealing with al-queda and the taliban but in building their own society is having the capacity for the Afghans to take responsibility for their future."
(Host)Welch says he would support sending additional troops to Afghanistan, if he can be persuaded that the troops are needed to protect the national security of the United States.