GOP Senators Take Secret Afghanistan Trip
Mitch McConnell and crew return with praise for Obama's strategy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2011 10:28 AM CST
Mitch McConnell speaks to a NATO Training Mission adviser during a visit to the Kabul Military Training Center, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011.   (Photo/U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ernesto Hernandez Fonte)

(Newser) – Mitch McConnell and a handful of other Senate Republicans took a secret trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan this weekend, announcing the trip only today—just before their return flight. The group, which included Lindsey Graham, Richard Burr, and freshmen Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey, and Kelly Ayotte, met with David Petraeus, Hamid Karzai, and Pakistani general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, among others.

McConnell came away from the trip praising the Obama administration’s strategy. “I think we’re doing it right. We’re making substantial headway,” he said in a call to the Louisville Courier-Journal before returning home. The Taliban “had a very bad year, and I expect they will have an even worse year in 2011.” He cited Joe Biden’s recent comments as evidence that “there is no artificial timetable for withdrawal, and the Taliban need to understand that.”