Now that Bin Laden is dead, the anti-war crowd, Congressional Democrats, and isolationist Republicans are probably going to demand that the United States pack up in Afghanistan and go home, perhaps even before 2014. This would be a huge mistake. If there’s one lesson that we can immediately glean from bin Laden’s death, it is that Pakistan is not a true ally in the war on terror. If we leave Afghanistan now that bin Laden is gone, Pakistan will move in and fill the vacuum—with his fellow-travelers.
The State Department is too keen to see Pakistan as a partner, perhaps even one they can work through to stabilize Afghanistan. They have it backwards. The best thing President Obama can do to defend American national security is use Afghanistan—perhaps with India—as the first line of defense against an increasingly malignant Pakistan. We shouldn’t be in Afghanistan permanently, but we need to ensure that becomes neither a safe haven for Al Qaeda nor Pakistan’s puppet.