update: Tester surveys American mission in Afghanistan

Senator meets with Montana troops, U.S. and Afghan leaders

(KABUL, Afghanistan) – Senator Jon Tester today met with Montana troops serving in Afghanistan and surveyed the work accomplished by U.S. and Afghan forces in the volatile Kandahar region of the war-torn country.

Tester met Friday with Montana troops serving in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan, including Lance Corporal Stephan C. Wall of Belt, Mont.  Wall was recently selected as Regional Command-Southwest Marine of the Year.  Tester was also briefed on the infrastructure construction being carried out by combat engineers with the RED HORSE squadron out of Malmstrom Air Force Base.

“We had a full day of gathering information and visiting with folks on the front lines,” Tester said.  “America’s troops are doing a great job over here.  We got a ton of input that’ll be very valuable as we move forward in the Senate, discussing the future of our mission in Afghanistan.”

Tester also met with several U.S. and Afghan officials, including Lt. General David Rodriguez, commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, and the governor of Kadahar Province, Tooryalai Wesa.

A third generation family farmer, Tester had the opportunity to discuss agricultural economic development with the Afghan Governor of the volatile Kandahar Province, who is also a farmer.  Tester was introduced to the Governor by U.S. Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., as “the Senate’s resident expert on farming.”

Tester, traveling with Levin and Senator Jack Reed, D-R.I., also planned to meet with staff members of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to assess morale and remind them of the importance of their work to save taxpayer dollars and bring to justice contractors who steal from or defraud the U.S.

Tester was one of a handful of Senators who voted last year to require the Defense Department to share with the American public a detailed plan for future American involvement in Afghanistan.