U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, recently traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and he said he saw some encouraging signs overseas.
“It was important for members of Congress to go see the situation on the ground,” Perry said during a Friday morning news conference at his York County district office in Springettsbury Township.
He said he was pleasantly surprised by the attitude of Afghans and Pakistanis to Americans.
“They support and like … Americans. Doesn’t mean they always agree with the policy of the American government. But they like Americans, and they respect and look up to Americans, and want to be much like America,” Perry said.
Perry, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, traveled overseas with other members of Congress as a part of a delegation. It was his first such overseas trip since joining Congress.
He said the United States needs to maintain a presence for counter-terrorism in the Afghanistan region.
“What we don’t want to see is a token force of Americans that are sent essentially to guard their own presence. …They wouldn’t be able to really do any work in the country, because they’d be on a base securing their own safety. That’s not helpful, and it doesn’t really comport with the mission,” Perry said.
Perry met with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, military leaders, U.S. troops on the ground and local people.
He said the United States wants to be influential in human rights when it’s involved with other nations.
“You meet with one of these ladies that has had acid thrown on her face and her body by her husband. … He receives no punishment for that and her life is changed irreparably forever,” Perry said. “And … it’s an opportunity to see how we’re assisting these women.”
He said it’s important that President Barack Obama’s administration reach a status of forces agreement with Afghanistan.
“We want to encourage the president to work with President Karzai, find a way to get this status of forces agreement … accomplished, have the right complement of Americans and the other 34 nations that are participating be there to help safeguard the country, while the Afghan army gets up to speed, ” Perry said.
Below, I have more highlights form the Friday morning news conference where he discussed the trip: