Former Massachusetts Governor Romney plainly notes that he agrees with Mr. Obama’s September 2014 deadline for withdrawing US combat troops from Afghanistan. “It’s the same time frame the president is speaking of with regards to the transition of the Afghan forces,” he told ABC News on July 29.
Where Romney takes issue with the president is the planned withdrawal of 23,000 US surge troops from Afghanistan in September, which “is still during the fighting season.” Instead, Romney says he would have preferred December 2012 as a withdrawal date.
But this four-month difference in timeline could change, too, pending the recommendations of the US military, Romney added.
When asked if he would keep troops in Afghanistan beyond the current 2014 deadline, if US commanders on the ground requested it, Romney said he just might. “I don’t want to go into hypotheticals, but we recognize the circumstances may change on the ground,” he said. “I don’t think you set hard and fast deadlines without recognizing that there is the potential for conditions to change.”