By Meghashyam Mali - 02/26/12 02:41 PM EST
GOP hopeful Mitt Romney blasted President Obama’s Afghanistan policies, after a week of violent protests in the country left more than 20 people dead, including two US military officers.
“I think the president’s made some enormous errors in the conduct of our mission there,” said Romney on Fox News Sunday.
Romney blasted the president's decision to apologize after the accidental burning of Qurans by NATO troops sparked a wave of violence that has left over 20 people dead.
"We've made an enormous contribution to help the people there achieve freedom and for us to be apologizing at a time like this is something which is very difficult for the American people to countenance."
The former Massachusetts governor said the United States should focus on helping Afghanistan build up “its own military and security forces” such that they can “maintain the sovereignty of their government from an attack from the Taliban.”
“We do not want to see Afghanistan once again return to a Taliban dominated nation with al Qaeda and other training camps coming into the nation. That is a mission that is continuing and based upon what we are seeing so far we haven’t been as successful as we could have been,” he added.
Obama apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the “unintentionally mishandled” books. That move has been criticized by many Republicans. The apology, however, has not stopped the outburst of anger in Afghanistan.
On Saturday, Afghan Defense Minister Rahim Wardak apologized to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in a phone call after an incident left two U.S. officers, a colonel and a major, dead. NATO officials said the two troops had been shot in the interior ministry in Kabul.
Romney blamed Obama for a series of missteps he said had jeopardized the decade-long American mission in the country.
“I think one of the reasons for that is the president did not assure that the elections were fair and open with a credible candidate being selected,” said Romney. “The president also announced a withdrawal date, a time certain which I think made it very clear to the Taliban they just had to wait us out. “