Obama vows responsible end to Afghan war
WASHINGTON (PAN): Pledging to finish the job in Afghanistan and end the war responsibly, US President Barack Obama has reiterated that the process of security transition to Afghan forces would be completed by 2014.
With Osama bin Laden dead and Al Qaeda on the road to defeat, Obama told Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nevada on Monday that he was meeting his pre-election commitment to finish the war in Afghanistan.
“Since I took office, we have worked with our allies and partners to take out more top Al Qaeda leaders than at any time since 9/11. Thanks to the courage and skills of our forces, Osama bin Laden will never threaten America again and Al Qaeda is on the road to defeat,” Obama said.
After years of drift, the US and allies had to break the momentum of the Taliban and build up the capacity and capability of Afghans, he said, adding that working with his commanders, he had come up with a new strategy.
"This is still a tough fight. But thanks to the incredible services and sacrifices of our troops, we pushed the Taliban back, we are training Afghan forces, we have begun the transition to Afghan lead,” remarked the president.
Noting that there were those who argued against a timeline for ending the war, Obama said that was not a plan for America’s security either. “After 10 years of war, and given the progress we have made, I felt it was important that the American people and our men and women in uniform know our plan to end this war responsibly.”
By the end of this summer, the president explained, more than 30,000 of US troops would have come home. Next year, Afghans will take the lead for their own security. In 2014, the transition will be complete.
"And even as our troops come home, we will have a strong partnership with the Afghan people, and we will stay vigilant so Afghanistan is never again a source for attacks against America,” Obama said.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discussed the current situation in Afghanistan with his visiting Spanish counterpart Pedro Morenés.
“The leaders discussed their shared commitment to building strong, capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Forces, as well as their interest in enhancing bilateral defense cooperation,” said a statement after the meeting.
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