From my visits to Afghanistan and my work with the Afghan women, I know well the importance of showing the Afghan people that we are resolute in our commitment to eradicate terrorist threats and provide the security they need to establish a stable civil society and field a well-trained security force. At the same time, it is they who are responsible for the future of their country -- not us. As the number of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan increases, I am cautiously optimistic that peace and order will be solidified, and that a legitimate Afghan government will be able to provide for the safety of its own people.
Helping Afghanistan regain effective control of its nation also will keep Americans safe from future terrorist attacks. Further, I believe that the non-military investments we are making in Afghanistan can help ensure the eventual defeat of the Taliban and al Qaeda forces there. Al Qaeda and its allies have been weakened, but not defeated. We cannot revert to a pre-9/11 mindset and allow terrorists to train and recruit in the lawless regions of the world. Rest assured that I always consider the wellbeing of our troops before casting any vote on matters that would affect them or their families.