Congressman Kennedy impressed with US effort to prepare Afghan troops for taking on Taliban

Freshman Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III returned from his first trip to Afghanistan late Monday, where he met with President Hamid Karzai and visited US troops.

Kennedy, who traveled as part of a bipartisan group of five lawmakers, said he was impressed by the US effort to prepare Afghan forces to take over the fight with the Taliban by the end of 2014.

“It is incredible what our troops have been able to accomplish in 10 years, after much sacrifice,” he said Tuesday.

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But he cautioned that a key factor that could determine whether those efforts will be sustainable will be whether elections scheduled for next spring to replace Karzai, who has been in office since the Taliban was toppled in 2002, are viewed as legitimate.

“We talked with Karzai and he understands the importance of a transition of political power,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “The Afghan people have to believe the process is clean and fair.”