“It will require continued commitment by the international community and the United States to help Afghan forces achieve it,” he said, adding, “We have come too far and invested too much blood and treasure” not to finish the job.
He said the United States also would have to keep the pressure on al Qaeda in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It would also have to work to prevent the emergence of al Qaeda safe havens elsewhere in the world, using U.S. special operations forces in partnership with local forces, he said.
“To truly end the threat from al Qaeda, military force aimed at killing our enemy alone will never be enough,” Panetta added. “The United States must stay involved and invested through diplomacy, development, education and trade in those regions of the world where violent extremism has flourished.”
He said that included Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as countries in the Middle East and Africa.