How Rep. Mark Kirk Spent his Christmas Vacation
it is important for an increasing NATO force to help develop and strengthen the Afghanistan army and police "so we can leave."
He also said the success of the upcoming democratic election in Afghanistan is key. All of the candidates "are anti-drug and anti-Taliban," he said.
Kirk and Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., are the only members of Congress to have served in Afghanistan.
"It was an honor to serve with the uniformed Americans in Afghanistan that I admire," Kirk said. "I learned a great deal about the challenges Americans and our NATO allies face in central Asia."
Kirk's experience should also reassure those, such as former vice president Al Gore, who worry about the effects of global warming on Afghanistan; indeed the citizens there might wish it would happen.
Kirk joked that he was surprised to hear people complaining about the cold in the Chicago area upon his return.
"I was more cold there than I've ever been," he said. "In the mountains, the cold gets into your marrow."