While Gov. Romney believes that the continued presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan should ultimately be decided by the military’s top brass, he cautions that the country should not be making similar commitments in the future. He also stressed that the bulk of the security obligation must lie with the Afghanis themselves.
Gov. Romney indicated in an interview with ABC on July 29, 2012, that while he is supportive of President Barack Obama’s Sept 2014 troops withdrawal deadline, he disagrees with the plan to order 23,000 troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 30. However, he admits that his position could change depending on the counsel of military commanders, while leaving open the possibility of keeping combat troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 should conditions change.
“I want those troops to come home based upon not politics, not based upon economics, but instead based upon the conditions on the ground determined by the generals … But I also think we have learned that our troops should not go off and try to fight a war of independence for another nation. Only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan’s independence from the Taliban.”
13 June 2011, Republican Presidential Debate in New Hampshire.
Romney believes our policy in Afghanistan should not be based on the economic costs alone.
“There will be some who argue it’s too expensive now, we’ve got to bring the troops home right now, or others will say, politically we need to make one decision or another … You don’t make a decision about our involvement in a conflict based on dollars and cents alone or certainly not with regards to politics.”
14 June 2011, New York Times
AFP reported that Romney made a private visit to Afghanistan in January 2010, and had a closed door meeting with President Hamid Karzai. Karzai’s office subsequently released a statement on January 10 that quoted Romney as saying, “ … the US is well aware of terrorists' presence in Pakistan and its border regions and this is a threat to Pakistan and Afghanistan … The situation in Pakistan is an indicator that terrorists are not only attacking Afghanistan but are causing lots of troubles for Pakistan too”.
From here, it is clear that Romney believes that there are elements of threat originating from Pakistan.