Toomey in Afghanistan in first big trip as senator

January 17, 2011 9:14:58 AM PST
Newly elected U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is in Afghanistan with other U.S. senators barely two weeks after being sworn in.

Toomey spoke to reporters Monday by telephone from Kabul and said he had met with both U.S. Gen. David Petraeus and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a three-day trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He says Afghanistan continues to have serious economic and political challenges, as well as a Taliban insurgency within its own borders.

But he says he thinks the United States can achieve success in Afghanistan and have a dramatically reduced presence in the country by the time his six-year term ends.

He says he told Karzai that his government needs to do more to combat pervasive corruption, although he described Karzai's reaction as a little bit defensive.