U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, PA-10, expressed serious concerns Wednesday night after President Obama announced plans to withdraw 30,000 surge forces from Afghanistan within the next 15 months.
Marino said his biggest objection was that the decision seemed to be based on growing discontent with the near decade-old conflict -- and not on a clear military strategy.
"If the military leaders on the ground say that this is the right thing to do, then I will accept that," Marino said. "But I don't think that's the case, especially after having spent time with the troops and military leaders just a few months ago."
Marino's March trip to Afghanistan and his work on the House committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs convinced him that the war on terror was being won and that a responsible transfer of security was within sight.
"I saw the success our surge forces have made and the progress our troops have made in training the Afghan forces," Marino said. "But it will all be for naught if we pull out our troops prematurely.
"No matter what you feel about the war, we are there. And we've got to be in it to win."
Marino said that Afghanistan is a strategic imperative for the United States because the Taliban protected the al-Qaeda terrorists who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the United States.