U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island is leading a congressional delegation to Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries that is meant to assess the impact of American policies.

Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, is being joined by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a member of Armed Services and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Doug Jones of Alabama, a member of the Armed Services Committee.

In an interview with The Public’s Radio in February, Reed blamed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 with needlessly shifting the focus from Afghanistan.

Sixteen years later, Reed said, there’s no easy way to wind down the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan while protecting American interests.

“It’s one of the most complicated issues you can think of,” Reed said. “I do think negotiations, discussions, are warranted. But the question is, how do you transition that from a two-party, the U.S. and the Taliban, into a multi-party, not just the government of Afghanistan – which is critical – but also the surrounding neighbors who will have a say in this, the Pakistanis as well as many other countries in the area.”

The current trip marks Reed’s 18th visit to Afghanistan and his 21st to Iraq.

According to his office, the senator is meeting “with heads of state, high-ranking foreign leaders, diplomats, and American military commanders, civilian personnel, as well as deployed personnel from their home states.”

The delegation is expected to return to the U.S. at mid-week.