We have eliminated much of Al Qaeda’s leadership, extinguished the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and rolled back the Taliban’s advances. Our troops have done a tremendous job of training the Afghan National Forces. The drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan should begin as soon as the Afghan Forces are capable of adequately taking a larger role in defending their country. At the same time, we need to leave Afghanistan responsibly and in such a way that will ensure lasting peace and security.
While I support withdrawing American combat troops from Afghanistan, the United States needs to continue to oppose terrorism around the world. The war in Iraq was a distraction from the real threat posed by Al Qaeda and similar extremist groups, and the new focus on eliminating terrorist leaders and disrupting their operations has been more effective. We need to specifically and narrowly focus on threats and eliminate them with minimal risk to our country and our troops. We have to be smarter and more efficient about deploying the military so they can respond appropriately to individual threats.