Combating Global Terrorism
I am deeply grateful for the sacrifices our troops and their families make every day to keep our country safe. As a nation, it is important we show our men and women in uniform how grateful we are for their service and how much we long for the day when they are out of harm's way. Like all Americans, I want our troops to come home safely and as soon as possible.
The final redeployment of the last U.S. units from Iraq signaled the end of military operations and transferred full responsibility for Iraq’s security to its military and police forces. The return of our units to their home bases will allow them longer periods for training and re-equipping and will ease the burden on their families. This is a welcome sign of progress. While the road ahead for the Iraqi people will not be an easy one, there is cause for cautious optimism now that the Iraqis are finding some common ground to address complex political, societal and economic issues.
The mission in Afghanistan remains vital to our overall objective of dismantling and defeating terrorist groups and providing an acceptable level of security and stability in the region, and the increased troop levels ordered by the president in 2011 have led to measurable successes in establishing security and decreasing insurgent activity in key areas of Afghanistan. We have trained local security forces in Afghanistan to conduct operations against the Taliban and terrorist elements enabling the Afghan people to defend themselves. These hard won improvements depend upon having sufficiently robust American forces in the field engaging insurgents and terrorist elements and operating in partnership with local forces who are doing the same.
The troop withdrawals that are ongoing and expected in the near future are likely to have ramifications for the resiliency of security and stability across Afghanistan, and due care should be exercised to avoid a hasty and premature withdrawal of additional U.S. forces until a careful assessment of Afghan capabilities has been conducted and there is confidence that removing our forces in larger numbers will not cause security to deteriorate.
During this period of extensive operational deployments around the globe, it is vitally important that we continue to provide our troops and their families with the resources and support they need as they continue to shoulder the heavy burden of duty. The men and women who serve in the Armed Forces understand what’s at stake in this war and the sort of unwavering commitment it requires. I remain committed to providing our servicemembers and military families with the support and resources they have earned through their service and sacrifice to our nation.