Washington, D.C. — In response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this evening, Caroline Wadhams, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
The president’s announcement to draw down our presence in Afghanistan to approximately 34,000 troops sets the United States on the right trajectory of continued drawdown from Afghanistan and adheres to the NATO 2014 transition mandate.
The political transition in Afghanistan and not U.S. troop numbers, however, will serve as the primary determinant of Afghan stability. The Obama administration, with the support of Congress, will need to undertake a sustained diplomatic effort to resolve the political disputes at the heart of the Afghan conflict through the 2014 Afghan presidential elections and the political settlement process.
While the pace of drawdown could occur more quickly, the administration must strike the appropriate balance between supporting the Afghan National Security Forces and sustaining counterterrorism capacities, while also pushing for Afghan leaders to take greater responsibility for the country’s future and responding to the competing demands of America’s many strategic priorities at home and around the world.
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