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Chairman Kerry Statement On President's West Point Speech

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement this evening following President Obama's speech on Afghanistan:

"I believe that the President defined a narrower mission tonight, not an open-ended nation-building exercise. A key component of that mission is providing that the troops will only clear and hold in places where there is capacity to build and transfer beneath them and that there will be significant partnering with Afghans in all of these efforts. That includes finding reliable Afghan partners in governance. If these criteria are met, then there is a chance for success. The President is correct to say the essential focus must be on Pakistan. What happens in Pakistan, particularly in the west, will be more critical to the outcome in Afghanistan than the increase in troops or shift in strategy there. I will support additional troops, providing their deployment stays within the strict understanding of the need to transfer and build as well as partner with Afghans. The only way to be successful is to rapidly transfer responsibility to the Afghans and anything short of that will end in failure, no matter how many troops we send to Afghanistan. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will continue to examine our Afghan policy in public hearings in the coming days and beyond."