Jon Huntsman differed from the other candidates on Afghanistan during the GOP debate in South Carolina Saturday night, saying he believes troop levels should be decreased significantly. Instead of keeping 100,000-plus troops in the country, he said the government should maintain intelligence officers and continue to train local forces.
"I take a different approach on Afghanistan," he said. "I think it's time to come home. I say this nation has achieved its key objectives in Afghanistan: We had free elections in 2004, we uprooted the Taliban, we have dismantled Al Qaeda, and we killed Osama bin Laden."
He said the more important foreign policy objective would be to build up the United States so it remains competitive.
"I say this nation's future is not Afghanistan," he said. "This nation's future is not Iraq. This nation's future is how prepared we are to meet the 21st century's competitive challenges. That's economics, that's education. I don't want to be nation-building in Afghanistan when this nation so needs to be built."