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A Winning Strategy in Afghanistan

August 28, 2017
Weekly Columns
For sixteen years, the United States has been engaged in military conflict in Afghanistan and has maintained a presence there to prevent terrorists from taking over the country and recreating the conditions that led to 9/11. Throughout our time there, our men and women in uniform have diligently eliminated terrorist threats, protected local civilians and supported rebuilding the Afghan defense forces. But as terrorism across the globe changes and grows, we still are facing the challenges of preventing another attack from occurring on our soil. When President Trump announced the new US strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, it was made clear that our mission to eradicate terrorism in Afghanistan will continue until the job is done.
 
Afghanistan and the surrounding areas have been known to be breeding grounds for terrorists groups. Under President Trump’s strategy, U.S. efforts will be implemented three-fold through diplomatic, economic and military actions. Through these means, the United States will be able to support the Afghan government and its defense forces to fight terrorists groups like the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS. Although the burden of the fight will be upon the Afghanistan forces, under this renewed strategy, the U.S. will be prepared to strike terrorists anywhere in Afghanistan.
 
The President’s call for support and action from Pakistan and India has been long overdue. The bordering nation of Pakistan has been critical to our fight against terrorism for years, but President Trump’s strategy asks for more action against terrorists groups that can and have grown roots there. Our goal to defeat the enemy in Afghanistan requires an understanding and recognition from Pakistan that they have a role in this fight to find and defeat terrorist groups in the area as well. The President also called on India, an important regional power, to play an even larger and more robust role in the fight against terrorism. This kind of pressure is needed to prove that these nations will be transparent and wholly supportive of our counterterrorism efforts.
 
While we await concrete numbers and analysis, I have full confidence in the President’s method and leadership in going forward with this plan. The President has surrounded himself with the best leaders in national security and defense. They assisted the President in conducting a thorough review of the costs and consequences of continuing our efforts in Afghanistan. Whatever the costs, troop numbers and projected timeline may be, it is my hope that Congress will set aside its partisan divisions and give its full support for this plan. 
 
Our continued presence in Afghanistan will ensure that our goal of keeping American safe is always met. A solid strategy like this one is the next step to meeting the needs of a changing world. By promoting a democratic, safe approach, this plan will support stability and peace in the area. Most importantly, it keeps our nation safe. President Trump, our military leaders and especially our service members deserve the full support they need to succeed.