Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) , Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the statement below following a meeting yesterday with General Stanley A. McChrystal, the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, to discuss the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan in advance of today’s Committee hearing: 


“Yesterday, General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry sat in my office and told me that they can successfully complete the mission in Afghanistan.  I believe that they are right – that the President’s new strategy, coupled with the increases in troops and civilian experts, and the sense of urgency provided by the July 2011 target for transition, presents our best chance for success.


 “Yet many questions remain.  I spoke at length with General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry about the challenges of quickly deploying these additional American forces and, most importantly, about the definitions of military and diplomatic success in Afghanistan.


“After our conversation yesterday, I believe that we have a sound strategy.  While we must remain mindful that implementing this counterinsurgency strategy will be extremely complex and far from easy, I have no doubt that we must succeed in Afghanistan.”