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Sen Daines Visits Turkey, Meets Montana Troops In Afghanistan

Sen. Daines bringing Hi-Country beef jerky to Montana’s 495th CSSB.
Courtesy Sen. Daines.
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Sen. Daines bringing Hi-Country beef jerky to Montana’s 495th CSSB.";

Senator Steve Daines visited Turkey and Afghanistan last weekend, meeting with top U.S. military and diplomatic officials, and with Montana National Guard troops stationed in Afghanistan.

About 60 soldiers with the Kalispell-based 495th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion deployed there in June. Daines spoke with Montana reporters about his visit today.

"The endgame here in Afghanistan is a negotiated political settlement with the Taliban and the Afghan government," Daines said.

The Republican Senator said the Obama administration undermined that goal by telegraphing a troop drawdown which he says caused anti-government forces to wait for U.S. troops to leave so they could mount a new offensive to overthrow the Afghan government. Daines praised the Trump administration for taking a tougher line.

"One metric that’s key is munitions dropped," Daines said. "The munitions dropped in Afghanistan are seven times greater than where they were in the last year of President Obama’s term."

Daines met with the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller.

"It’s gonna take some time, and as General Miller said, ‘we’re not going to bomb our way to peace in Afghanistan.' What we have to do here is, we’ve got to show the Taliban we’re serious, and this is all about forcing the Taliban to the table to negotiate a political solution, because that is, long term, where this has to be."

Daines met with Montana troops in Kabul, and via video conference with others elsewhere in the country. He says the Kalispell-based National Guard unit is supposed to return home in mid-March.

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