Withdrawal from Afghanistan will be seen as a great victory for Al Qaeda and enhance its popularity and prestige. If we scale back our engagement in Afghanistan, they will simply follow us home.

It is our military presence that is actively aiding Taliban recruitment and encouraging disparate extremist groups to back one another. The Afghan mujaheddin did not “follow the Soviets home” after they withdrew. The same will be true once the United States reduces its military footprint and eventually disengages. In fact, military disengagement will undermine Al Qaeda’s claims that the United States is trying to “dominate” the Muslim world. A smaller U.S. footprint in the Muslim world will make Americans safer, not encourage terrorist attacks against American targets at home and abroad.

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