NAPOLITANO PROMISES TO PROTECT AFGHANISTAN BORDER, IGNORES US BORDERS
NWV News writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
January 4, 2011
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During her New Year holiday trip, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano met with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai to discuss securing the region surrounding the Afghan-Pakistani border. Secretary Napolitano reportedly reinterated America’s commitment to working with Afghanistan to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in the region.
“The Obama administration remains fully committed to combating threats of terrorism in Afghanistan,” said Secretary Napolitano. “In coordination with U.S. and Afghan military forces, the dedicated civilian Department of Homeland Security personnel assisting the Afghan government with customs and border control have made significant progress in disrupting al Qaeda operations in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
However, not everyone is oblivious to the comedy of Napolitano's Afghan visit. For example, Fox News military analyst Colonel Bill Cowan said on Sunday, "[Secretary] Napolitano should first secure the U.S. borders before lecturing officials in other countries on how to protect their borders."
In her meetings with President Karzai, Secretary Napolitano reportedly discussed the Homeland Security Department's ongoing efforts -- coordinated with the Afghan government -- to combat the illicit diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals that terrorist and other criminal organizations use to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
"Unfortunately, not one of the reporters traveling with Napolitano mentioned the details of reports that showed weapons of mass destruction being smuggled across U.S. borders during undercover operations by so-called Red Teams -- special units set up to test security vulnerabilities," said political strategist Mike Baker.
Napolitano discussed DHS’ deployments of border security and customs personnel to the region to assist Afghan border police and customs officials and help establish an Afghan customs academy. In the last twelve months, DHS efforts have expanded and now more than a dozen U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are providing training and guidance to the Afghan government and sharing best practices—including the six officials that arrived with Secretary Napolitano on New Year's Eve.
Secretary Napolitano also held a roundtable discussion today with Afghan women, as well as U.S. women serving in the region, to hear about efforts underway to advance the role of women in Afghan society. During the discussion, Secretary Napolitano reiterated President Obama’s strong commitment to advancing the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. However, there was absolutely no discussion of Muslim teachings regarding the low-status of Islamic women. Nor was there a discussion regarding rampant child sex abuse of prepubescent boys by Islamic men in Afghanistan.
The group that heard Napolitano's comments was comprised of Afghan government officials representing the Ministries of Women’s Affairs, Public Health, Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Justice and the Afghanistan National Army and National Police, as well as women serving various non-governmental organizations and American women working to assist the Afghan people in bringing peace and stability to the region.
In addition, Secretary Napolitano toured border security operations at Afghanistan’s Torkham Border Crossing with Pakistan and met with Afghan and U.S. border security and customs officials working to strengthen border security along the Afghan-Pakistan border while facilitating legitimate travel and commerce. Secretary Napolitano also spent New Year’s Eve with U.S. military and civilian personnel.
“For several years, the Department of Homeland Security has been contributing personnel to help bolster security in Afghanistan,” said Secretary Napolitano.
“In the last twelve months, DHS has expanded its effort here in support of President Obama’s policy of civilian engagement. Today, I arrived in Kabul with six additional border security and customs officers who will join our ongoing efforts to advise and assist our Afghan counterparts on customs and border control. It is an honor to meet with our dedicated military and civilian men and women who are helping to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, and I thank them for their continued efforts and sacrifices here to make the American homeland safer and more secure,” said the former governor of New Mexico.
Some observers are less enthusiastic about Napolitano's visit to Afghanistan. Local law enforcement officials in border states such as Arizona and New Mexico wonder why Napolitano doesn't spend time at the U.S.-Mexico border with her own "troops" -- the men and women serving as U.S. Border Patrol agents and as Customs officers.
"The U.S.-Mexico border is practically a war zone, but Napolitano and other members of the Obama [national] security team ignore the situation," said former police detective and intelligence officer Mike Snopes.
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"Anyone who visits our border with Mexico knows that we are being deceived by cynical politicians who care more about foreign borders thousands of mile away than they care about U.S. sovereignty and American lives," Snopes said.
Following her departure from Afghanistan, Secretary Napolitano visited Qatar on January 2; Israel on January 3-5; and Belgium on January 5-6 to meet with her counterparts and discuss international efforts to ensure the security of our global aviation and supply chain systems against threats of terrorism and transnational crime while facilitating the flow of legitimate travel and commerce.
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