Washington: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has hit back at Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney’s criticism of the Obama administration’s Afghanistan drawdown strategy, saying that the plan to remove most combat troops by 2014 is working.
“I think you’ve got 50 nations in NATO that agree to a plan in Afghanistan,” Panetta told ABC News.
“It’s the Lisbon agreement, an agreement that, you know, others, President [George W] Bush, President [Barack] Obama, everyone has agreed is the direction that we go in Afghanistan,” Panetta said.
“That is the plan that has been agreed to. And it’s a plan that is working,” he added.
According to Politico, Romney recently called Barack Obama’s strategy to draw down troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 ‘naive and misguided.’
Panetta, however, called the Romney comments “campaign rhetoric” and defended the administration’s plan.
“Very frankly, the only way to get this accomplished in terms of the transition that we have to go through is to be able to set the kind of timelines that have been set here in order to ensure that we fulfill the mission of an Afghanistan that governs and secures itself. That’s what this is about,” the report quoted Panetta, as saying.