Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan for Mother’s Day 2012
This Mother’s Day weekend, a group of Congresswomen traveled to Afghanistan to attend briefings on the situation in the country, speak with servicemembers, and celebrate the holiday. The bipartisan delegation consisted of Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). In addition to taking place on a holiday, it was the first congressional visit to Afghanistan since President Obama and Afghan President Karzai signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which institutes a continuing U.S. presence in Afghanistan, on May 1st.
While in Afghanistan, the delegation spoke with President Karzai, General John Allen of the International Security Assistance Force, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker about security issues and progress in the country. They also spent time at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul learning about legal and social issues, including women’s issues, in Afghanistan. They visited several other areas of Afghanistan and met with troops in the field. While in the war-torn Helmand province, the delegation attended a Mother’s Day celebration at Camp Leatherneck with mothers who are also servicemembers.
This trip is particularly relevant in light of the history of Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was born out of the idea that women should play an important role in peace-making. Julia Ward Howe first called for the holiday as a pacifist reaction to the Civil War, and she encouraged all women and mothers to speak out on behalf of peace.
Including both Afghan and American women in the movement towards peace was an important part of the mission of this Mother’s Day trip. Congresswoman Pelosi said, “On every occasion, our delegation stressed the importance of Afghan women being involved in security decisions,” while Congresswoman Maloney commented, “I was honored to visit our extraordinarily courageous and dedicated servicemembers in Afghanistan – and I was heartened to learn about our efforts to bring them home as safely and as quickly as possible.”
As Congresswoman Sewell said, “To all our mothers far and near, Happy Mother’s Day!”
-Hayley Anderson, Intern - Northeastern Class of 2015