Barbour visits Mississippi troops in Afghanistan

Gov. Haley Barbour visited with Mississippi National Guard troops on the ground at forward operating bases in Afghanistan today after discussions on Thursday with the U.S. ambassador and military commanders in Kabul, the country’s capital city.

Barbour and three other governors have spent this week getting a first-hand look at U.S. and allied military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the front lines of the war on terrorism. More than 3,500 members of the Mississippi National Guard are on active duty in the two countries, performing a variety of missions.

“This has been an extraordinary opportunity to see first hand the courage and commitment of our troops, who are making major contributions in the war on terrorism. As governor, I am very proud of them and thank God for their service,” Barbour said.

Barbour and the other governors flew on a C-130 from to Khost and met the Agribusiness Development Team and the Wyoming Guard Aeromedical evacuation unit at Forward Operating Base Salerno.

They then flew to Sharana to meet the Mississippi Guard Task Force Storm engineering unit and participated in an MRAP road clearing demonstration. MRAP, which stands for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, is a heavily armored military vehicle built in Mississippi and used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the group of governors was briefed by the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McChrystal. The governors also met with U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry.

Other governors on the trip, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, include Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia; Governor Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming; and Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon.