Mitt Romney: Let Us Never Forget Those Lost in the War on Terror “Today marks the one year anniversary of the mission that brought Osama bin Laden to justice. That mission was the culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and sacrifice by our men and women in....
the timing is politically inspired. Whatever the motivation behind the decision, it means that our military will be compelled to begin moving troops and equipment out of Afghanistan in the middle of the fighting season, taking away forces and resources it needs to combat the enemy.
Mitt Romney will never make national-security decisions based upon electoral politics. Upon taking office, he will review our transition to the Afghan military by holding discussions with our commanders in the field. He will order a full interagency assessment of our military and assistance presence in Afghanistan to determine the level required to secure our gains and to train Afghan forces to the point where they can protect the sovereignty of Afghanistan from the tyranny of the Taliban. Withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan under a Romney administration will be based on conditions on the ground as assessed by our military commanders.
Ensure Buy-In from Afghan and Pakistani Governments
To defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan, the United States will need the cooperation of both the Afghan and Pakistani governments. It is in the interests of all three nations to see that Afghanistan and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region are rid of the Taliban and other insurgent groups. Mitt Romney will work with both the Afghan government and Pakistan to ensure that those nations are fully contributing to success in Afghanistan. But we will only persuade Afghanistan and Pakistan to be resolute if they are convinced that the United States will itself be resolute. Only an America that appears fully committed to success will eliminate the incentives for them to hedge their bets by aligning with opposing forces.
The United States must be clear in what we require of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai should understand that our commitment must be met with reciprocal efforts to crack down on corruption in his government, respect free and fair elections as required by the Afghan constitution, and coordinate with the United States on fighting the narcotics trade that fuels the insurgency. Pakistan should understand that any connection between insurgent forces and Pakistan’s security and intelligence forces must be severed. The United States enjoys significant leverage over both of these nations. We should not be shy about using it.