Vice President elect visits U.S., Afghan leaders in Afghanistan
January 12, 2009
By Donna Miles
Vice President-elect Joe Biden arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, today to meet with Afghan and U.S. military leaders and thank deployed U.S. troops serving there for their service.
Biden met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David D. McKeirnan, commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force during his visit, ISAF officials reported.
After meeting with McKiernan, Biden stopped to shake hands with U.S. troops stationed at ISAF headquarters and thank them for their service, officials said.
"Thank you, I mean it sincerely," Biden told the troops. "It's a big, big deal what you're doing here. You're making a big sacrifice in a [challenging] environment. Thank you for your service."
Before departing, Biden shook hands one last time with McKiernan, telling him, "I'm looking forward to working with you."
Biden's visit to Afghanistan followed a stop in Islamabad, Pakistan. There, he met briefly with President Asif Ali Zardari and other Pakistani leaders.
Two days earlier, Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. Central Command commander, said in an address to the U.S. Institute of Peace that peace and stability in Afghanistan are incomplete without improving relations among the country and its neighbors.
The road to success in Afghanistan, Petraeus said, involves commitment and comprehensive coordination from Pakistan, India and possibly Russia and Iran to combat the spread of terror and extremism in central Asia.
"It's not possible to solve the challenges internal to Afghanistan without addressing the challenges, especially in terms of security, with Afghanistan's neighbors," Petraeus said. "A regional approach is required."