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Posted at 04:12 PM ET, 03/19/2011

Nancy Pelosi arrives in Afghanistan on unannounced visit

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and four other House members have arrived in Afghanistan on a previously unannounced visit, the Democratic leader’s office said Saturday.

Pelosi and Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), John L. Mica (R-Fla.), Leonard L. Boswell (D-Iowa) and Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) met Saturday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the country’s political and security situation, including the transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces, according to a release from Pelosi’s office.

The delegation will also visit with U.S. troops and receive briefings from U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and other senior officials.

The Afghanistan visit comes after a brief stop Friday in Italy, where the delegation met with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Chamber of Deputies President Gianfranco Fini and members of the Italian parliament.

The trip marks Pelosi’s first visit to Afghanistan since May, when the Democratic leader and a delegation of four other Democratic women met with top officials including Eikenberry, Karzai and then-Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who was the U.S. commander in Afghanistan until he resigned amid controversy in June.

The visit also comes days after the House rejected a symbolic resolution sponsored by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) that would have called on President Obama to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of the year. The measure fell far short of passage but gained greater support than a similar effort last year. All five members of the Pelosi delegation voted against the resolution.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released this week showed that public support for the war is at an all-time low. Only 31 percent of respondents – including 50 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats – said they believe the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was in Washington this week testifying before Congress on the course of the war. Nearly 1,500 U.S. troops have been killed in the war since fighting began in 2001.

By  |  04:12 PM ET, 03/19/2011

 
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