PRESS RELEASE

[NOTE: Inclement weather prevented travel to Afghanistan.
Please see press release from Februrary 20 for an updated report of the Congressman's trip.]

Rep. Capuano Travels to Afghanistan and Middle East; Will Meet With US Troops

February 12, 2003 -- This week, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) will travel to Afghanistan and parts of the Middle East where he will meet with American troops to express his support and learn more about US efforts in the region.

"Our military personnel, including many Massachusetts residents, have responded to their country's call despite the many sacrifices they will face. They deserve our heartfelt thanks. I want to take that message to our brave men and women, who are hard at work thousands of miles away from their loved ones," stated Rep. Capuano. "I remain concerned about the President's rush to war in Iraq but regardless of policy differences, I respect and appreciate the courage and commitment of our troops around the world."

Rep. Capuano will receive military briefings on current activities in Afghanistan, meet with American troops and examine reconstruction and development projects.

"When US troops targeted the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, we made a commitment to help the Afghan people rebuild their country. We pledged to restore stability to a nation struggling under the oppression of corrupt leaders. Our military was successful in driving the Taliban out of power, and now it is critical that we keep our promise to the Afghan people. I thought it was important to see for myself how these rebuilding efforts were progressing so I could report back to my constituents."

While on the Budget Committee, Rep. Capuano included report language in the FY '03 budget resolution calling for additional funding to aid the rebuilding process in Afghanistan.

Rep. Capuano will also meet with American troops stationed in Afghanistan, including residents of the 8th Congressional district.

A detailed itinerary of Congressman Capuano's trip is not available due to security concerns.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208