Yesterday's hearing on Afghanistan by the House Armed Services Committee was an opportunity to continue our important dialogue on the current military and diplomatic strategy in Afghanistan. Since the fall of the Taliban and the emergence of a democratic government in Afghanistan, we have faced many challenges – some of which still remain potential roadblocks to achieving our immediate and long-term goals.

In my several visits to Afghanistan, I have grown confident of two things. First, the Afghani people and their leadership are committed to building a strong Democratic nation. Secondly, our brave soldiers are dedicated to their mission and ask only that we support them as they protect American families. Right now, soldiers from my former unit, the 218th Brigade of the South Carolina Army National Guard, are training the Afghani police forces. These police forces will be an integral part of future security gains in Afghanistan, and we must focus our attention on ensuring that they are well-trained and well-equipped to handle their duties. A peaceful and safe society is the only framework from which Afghanis can build a prosperous, democratic government.

Success in Afghanistan is also heavily dependent upon having positive involvement by other nations within the region – namely Pakistan. In a recent visit to Pakistan, I urged President Musharraf to do everything necessary to secure peace within his own country and promote a democratic style of government. Stability in Pakistan will help foster greater security in Afghanistan. Terrorists currently use the ungoverned territories along the border to infiltrate and murder citizens of both countries. With the help of the United States and our allies, these two nations can succeed in bringing peace to those territories and the region.