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Marco Rubio visits Afghanistan, Pakistan, meets with troops, Petraeus

Marco Rubio has been in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the past four days, meeting with troops, military officials and dining last night with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Rubio said the trip was designed to give the freshman senator -- who is there with six other Republican senators -- a "general orientation" of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"One thing is clear," Rubio told reporters on a conference call, shifting between English and Spanish. "2011 is going to be a critical year for Afghan security forces to step up and play a bigger role."

He got a chance to see some of the security forces training firsthand and noted the trainees and their trainers -- U.S., British and Jordanian forces -- have got a tough slog. He noted some of the Afghan men being trained "have never driven a vehicle before," but said officials on the ground reported progress.

"They're making strides in that direction, they're worlds away from were they were not so long ago," he said. "Everyone on the ground is enthusiastic, but progress is being made." IMG00042-20110117-1429

He said his group was able to move about a marketplace: "There's no way to overestimate how serious the challenge is, but we are headed in the right direction."

And he cautioned against setting troop withdrawal deadlines: "Everywhere we went, from the market to the streets, to Afghan authorities to the president, we heard it is important to understand that the U.S. is committed to seeing this through. Otherwise, the Taliban and even Al Queda is waiting for the U.S. to leave so they can move back in."

"We have to show we are commited," he said. "The goal is to leave behind a functioning Afghan state and that's what's happening."

He noted there is a 2014 goal to end US combat missions, and said he's opposed to setting any dates for withdrawal.

"All they have to do is wait us out," he said of the Taliban. "We heard that repeatedly. We heard that over and over."

Comments

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lalo kura

It seems to me that Rubio is being groomed by the GOP as a foreign affairs specialist.

Chieker

Hope Mr Rubio does not make the same mistake that Charlie Wilson when he neglected education & schooling for Afghans. Greg Mortenson is doing the rt thing.

Eric

RINOs not grooming him for foreign affairs, prob just trying to keep him out of their hair... If you have Netflix, watch the documentary "Casino Jack" for a view of how the old guard operates...

john

And how is this helping to bring more jobs to Florida? stop running for president and remember the reason you went to washington was to help bring jobs to Florida...

quincy

Hello it wasn't just Rubio who went, it was several freshman senators. Rubio was elected on the idea that washington was out of touch and working against the people. As long as Rubio doesn't forget who his boss is he will be fine.

Ferrigamo05

Looks to me like Rubio is getting this "special education" for bigger plans .... down the road. But at the same time, if he wants to run for president someday, ... then why shouldn't he ? Why not ? At least the man will have something most people who run for president dont .... a "real touch", "real base" with "blue and white collar" people, and not just here in America but abroad as well. I think thats a wise quality to have and something that TRUE leaders must have.

Voice_of_Sanity

Total waste of jet fuel.

Vicki Jackson

There are a whole lot of reasons that Marco Rubio was elected to the Senate, not just jobs for Florida as some state. We do not like what is going on in Washington; not following the Constitution, Obamacare needs to go, too much Government, too much spending, too much tax, owing our soul to China,etc. Hopefully, all our newly elected Representives will dig in and understand just what is going on in our country as well as well as the world around them. They need to stay in touch with the people and do the job they were elected to do.

Rosiland Sullivan

@voice-of Sanity

Marco's used of jet fuel, is for a good purpose.

But Obummers use of jet fuel is the wasteful one........Let him fly commercially for his damned vacations and leave Airforce one for more pressing reasons

Rick

Just remember People what ever He do or don't do. from here on out.You the people who voted for Him put him there. So please shut up! He's The One! Yea Right Lol.................

Papi_Chulo

Rubio Scouting out a ME Site for another Taj Mahal Courthouse?

Papi_Chulo

Rubio in Afghanistan and Pakistan is about as Useful as having a Pay Toilet in a Diarrhea Ward.

BLOGPREACHER

MARCO RUBIO LOOKS VERY PRESIDENTIAL TO ME :)

Vicki Jackson

He does look Presidential!

Hmmm Hmmmm

Funny stuff. I thought he was "Tea Partier" and a "defict hawk" but, here he is, toeing the GOP line. What a good little soldier. I guess all you guys that thought he would stand up to the party leadership just got thrown under the bus, again. The first time was when he showed up at the halls of the senate and pledged his fealty to Mitch McConnell, rather than Tea Party darling, Jim DeMint. Im sitting laughing away, you thought you were getting an original and, instead, you got a carbon copy who has decided now that he's there, he doesnt NEED to kowtow to YOU anymore.

George

He's a young, hungry politician with aspirations for bigger and better things. Yes, we know he wants to be the first Hispanic President. Is there anything wrong with that? No. I think it would be an important milestone for the country, just like Obama has been. I'm not saying Obama's presidency has been politically great or effective. But it has been hugely "important" for where we ultimately need and want to go as a country. Breaking old barriers. Rubio as President would help in that regard as well. Is he playing the political game, doing the two step and moving around and about in self serving ways... YES! But is he any different than all politicians? No. The important thing is that he stand for what he believes in, that he is honest and as interested in the countries well being as much as his aspirations, that he be a sharp, intelligent and wise leader (as Obama is and Bush was not) and that ultimately he makes this country a better place. I believe young Mr. Rubio is good for this country. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt as he grows into his own.

Papi_Chulo

An ode to the Teaparty who supported Rubio:

I'm a little teabag, short and stout
Here is my flag , here is my mouth
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout
Just tip me over and p*i*s*s me out!

I'm a clever teabag, yes it's true
I am a racist, bigot too
I can change my volume, shriek out loud
I am a Tea bag, hear me shout.

I am Sarah Palin Face of the Teaparty Now hear me out

duh

Clearly someone is positioning themselves for a presidential run in 2012. Clearly, someone has an over-inflated sense of their own importance.

R B Quinn

The first of many junkets as a U.S. Senator!

george bishopric

Rubio's experience in Miami/Dade County make him uniquely qualified to judge corruption......and whether it's good enough to bring back home to Hialeah.

Dr. Belinda Noah, Attorney

As Florida's newest U. S. Senator, instead of traveling overseas at taxpayers' expense, Marco Rubio should be spending time with the people that he represents in order to resolve the serious problems Floridians are facing with respect to business closings, foreclosures, unemployment and bankruptcies. Also, it is very dissappointing to learn that Rubio has refused to join the U. S. Senate Tea Party Caucus, even though he sought and received the endorsement and votes of Florida's hard working Tea Party members.

Brad

I commend Senator Rubio for visiting our troops overseas. Marco is going to be our first Hispanic President or V.P. in 2012 And this good old boy from Alabama would vote for him in a minute!

Dr. Belinda Noah, Attorney

That is what is wrong with this country, some people will vote for someone who does not represent their best interest.

Ayiku Momoh

I know (for sure) that he has an aspiration to be the President sometime in the future

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