U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on President Obama's announcement of a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan.
"Tonight, President Obama outlined a comprehensive strategy to stabilize Afghanistan and reduce security threats to America. The President addressed how we will defeat the Taliban, improve governance for the Afghan people and train Afghan National Security Forces to assume more responsibility for their country's security.
"The Taliban and al-Qaida have carried out deadly attacks against the Afghans and Americans alike. The President reiterated our commitment to combat terrorists and secure the Afghan population from attack.
"The President also made it clear that stability in Afghanistan also depends on improvements in governance and economic opportunities for the Afghan people. This speech sends a clear message to President Karzai that he must undertake significant, credible reforms to reduce corruption and improve services.
"Afghan security forces must be prepared to sustain improvements in security and stability achieved by the United States and our allies. The President committed to training competent and professional Afghan National Security Forces so they can help secure their own country.
"The President announced that the United States will deploy an additional 30,000 service members to help implement his strategy. Our NATO and non-NATO allies must recognize that Afghanistan-based terrorists present a global threat and increase their deployments to the country as well.
"I recognize that additional deployments of U.S. military and civilian personnel to Afghanistan will place strain on our service members and their families and increase our country's deficit. I will continue my work on the House Armed Services Committee and House Budget Committee to support military families and improve our fiscal health.
"President Obama made it clear tonight that a secure and stable Afghanistan is in the direct national security interests of the United States. We cannot allow Afghanistan to once again become a safe haven for terrorists to plan attacks against America and our allies. Our operations in Afghanistan must disrupt, dismantle, and destroy al-Qaida and other terrorist groups which threaten the U.S.
"The right strategy and resources in Afghanistan will reduce the national security threat al-Qaida poses to the United States. The goal of the strategy is clear: to deny al-Qaida a safe haven from which they can plan attacks against us.
"To achieve this goal we will need the support and cooperation of the international community, our allies and, most importantly, the Afghan people."