Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took part in a secret and unannounced trip to Afghanistan with a delegation of leaders from Congress, to discuss with leaders of that nation its military and economic futures.
The group of lawmakers, which included eight Democrats and one Republican (ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Mac Thornberry), had previously, as part of their travels, visited Jordan to speak with that country’s royal family about the situation in Syria, CNN reported.
Following their visit there, the group then went to Afghanistan to speak with President Ashraf Ghani and other senior government officials. The trip had not been discussed privately before their arrival.
“Our delegation emphasized the central importance of combating the corruption which endangers security and undermines the Afghan people’s ability to achieve a stable and prosperous future,” Pelosi said in a statement regarding their trip.
The group of nine lawmakers also promoted steps toward gender equality in the nation’s future.
“We underscored that the women of Afghanistan must be at the table for reconciliation talks,” Pelosi added.
It is not unusual for such visits by congressional delegations to other countries to be conducted under secrecy, although it’s typical for such “undercover” visits to be known about by the executive branch before the visit occurs. Usually, the administration will stay mum about such trips, but earlier this year Pelosi had to abandon a similar visit due to actions by President Donald Trump.
In January, Trump publicized Pelosi’s (and other lawmakers’) plans to travel to Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported, during a feud between the two over the government shutdown that was happening at the time.
The United States has had a presence in Afghanistan since 2001, following the attacks of September 11. The invasion of the country came about after the Taliban refused to come to a deal with the Bush administration over how to hand over Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was living in the country at that time.
Earlier this year, Trump abruptly canceled a meeting that was to take place within the United States between his administration and Taliban leaders. The negotiation was set to take place the weekend before the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, HillReporter.com previously reported.
Trump canceled the meeting, however, after an attack occurred in Afghanistan against coalition forces just days prior.
In 2012, Trump had criticized, through Twitter, the Obama administration for pushing toward negotiations with the Taliban.