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WP: Sustaining Success in Afghanistan

Authors: John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham
March 21, 2012

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John McCain, Joseph I. Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, believe President Obama should "resist the short-sighted calls for additional troop reductions" in Afghanistan.

Aseries of tragic events in Afghanistan has increased the desire of a war-weary public to end our mission there. As heart-wrenching as these eventshave been, they do not change the vital U.S. national security interests at stake in Afghanistan, nor do they mean that the war is lost. It is not. There is still a realistic path to success if the right decisions are made in the coming months.

The painful lesson we learned on Sept. 11, 2001, remains true today: What happens in Afghanistan directly affects our safety here at home. We abandoned Afghanistan in the 1990s, and the result was a fanatical regime that allowed its territory to become a base for global terror attacks, while inflicting medieval tyranny on the Afghan people, especially women. If we quit Afghanistan again, and abandon the millions of Afghans who have risked everything to be our allies in the hopes of succeeding together, the consequences will be disastrous for both our peoples.

It does not have to be this way. Significant military progress has been made in Afghanistan — progress that we have personally witnessed over repeated visits. Four years ago, southern Afghanistan was overrun by the Taliban, and our coalition lacked the resources and the strategy necessary to break their momentum. Today, that situation has been reversed, thanks to the president's surge of forces, the leadership of talented military commanders, and the courage and perseverance of our troops.

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