Senator Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is part of a congressional delegation that is currently on an official visit to Afghanistan. Senator Collins is joined on the trip by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Their visit comes as millions of Afghanis prepare to go to the polls on Thursday amidst violence that has recently rocked the country. For security reasons, a detailed itinerary of their visit to Afghanistan cannot be released until later.
In April, during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing to examine the President’s $83.4 billion spending request to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Senator Collins questioned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about women’s rights in Afghanistan. Initially, after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the position of Afghan girls and women improved dramatically. But, troubled by a controversial new law that restricts women's freedom, Senator Collins expressed her concern that women's rights are now being rolled back.
"We have seen President Karzai sign a highly repressive law that, among other provisions, actually legalizes marital rape, it's troubling to me that the American taxpayers are being asked to ramp up assistance to Afghanistan at a time when the treatment of girls and women is becoming more repressive," Senator Collins told Secretary of State Clinton.
Senator Collins, and the other delegation members, have visited Libya, Yemen, Kuwait and Iraq. This is Senator Collins’ fourth trip to the region. Her last visit was in December 2006.