Romney tells ABC News in a Sunday interview that he supports Obama's plan to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But he doesn't agree with Obama's plan to order 23,000 troops out by Sept. 30, a timeline some military experts warn could complicate next year's efforts to stabilize the war-torn country. The former Massachusetts governor says his position could change depending on the counsel of military commanders. He says he's leaving open the possibility of keeping combat troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 should conditions change.
"When our men and women are in harm's way, I expect the presidents of the United States to address the nation on a regular basis... and explain why we're there." That answer obscures the fact that both Romney and Obama have similar timetables for Afghan withdrawal (a complete handover by 2014).
"Success in Afghanistan is vital to our nation’s security. It would be a tragedy for Afghanistan and a strategic setback for America if the Taliban returned to power and once again created a sanctuary for terrorists. We tolerated such a sanctuary until we lost thousands on September 11, 2001. Many brave Americans have sacrificed everything so that we could win this fight for a more secure future. Let us honor the memory of the fallen, not only by keeping them in our daily thoughts but also by staying true to their commitment. We are united as one nation in our gratitude to our country’s heroes.”
"Gov. Romney supports the 2014 timetable as a realistic timetable and a residual force post-2014. But he would not have announced that timetable publicly, as President Obama did, as doing so encourages the Taliban to wait us out and our allies to hedge their bets," a Romney campaign spokesperson told The Cable.
"It's unthinkable that you say: 'Here's the date we're gonna leave, regardless of the circumstances,' " Romney said at a town hall meeting in Maryland this week (March 23rd, 2012). "Because that only communicates ... to the enemy, that at some point certain you're leaving. ... They make their plans based upon knowing your plans, when we don't know theirs."
Presumptive Republican candidate Romney echoed that vagueness in carefully crafted remarks this week in New Hampshire, promising to do "everything in my power to ... bring our men and women home and do so in a way consistent with our mission, which is to keep Afghanistan from being overrun by a new entity which would allow Afghanistan to be a launching point for terror again like it was on 9/11."
Mr. Romney has said repeatedly that he wants to bring troops home as soon as possible, but with the significant caveat that such a drawdown takes place when “our generals think it’s O.K.” or “as soon as that mission is complete.”
“We should not negotiate with the Taliban,” Romney says. “We should defeat the Taliban.”
"A draw-down occurring in the middle of a fighting season and we are still giving our military the same mission," Ryan said about the war. "We don't want to do something that would put them in jeopardy, we want them to fulfill the mission in the safest way possible. And that to me means, you make decisions based on what's right for the country, for our nation's security and let our men and women serving in our armed forces do their job in the safest way, period. End of story. Elections not withstanding."