War in Afghanistan in final chapter: Obama
WASHINGTON (PAN): US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said though the core of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan-Pakistan region was on the path to defeat, yet his country would continue to be threatened by like-minded extremists.
“Osama bin Laden is no more. Al Qaeda’s top ranks have been hammered. The core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the way to defeat,” Obama said in his address to Marines in attendance at Camp Pendelton in California.
He told the Marines: “Because of you, more Afghans are reclaiming their communities -— their markets, their schools, their towns -- and they have a chance to forge their own future. Because of you, more Afghans are trained and stepping up and defending their own country.
“Because of you -- and to preserve the gains you fought and bled for -- we are going to make sure that Afghanistan is never again a source of attacks against our country.”
“So the war in Afghanistan will end. For you, that means fewer deployments. It means more training time, preparing for the future -- getting back to what Marines do better than anybody else on Earth, amphibious operations,” the president said.
However, he said the end of the war in Afghanistan did not mean the end of threats to the nation. “As I’ve said before, even as we decimated the al Qaeda leadership that attacked us on 9/11, Al Qaeda affiliates and like-minded extremists still threaten our homeland, still threaten our diplomatic facilities, our businesses abroad. “
“And we've got to take these threats seriously and do all we can to confront them. We’ve been reminded of this again in recent days,” he said referring to the latest threat coming from the Arabian Peninsula.
Noting that the US has been at war against Al Qaeda for nearly 12 years, he said this has become US’s longest war. “I’m here because we recently marked another milestone in this war. As of this past June, for the first time, Afghan forces have taken the lead for security across their entire country,” he said.
“Instead of leading the fight, our troops now have a different mission, which is to train and advise and assist Afghan forces. And what the signals is that our war in Afghanistan has entered the final chapter. More of our troops are coming home. We’ll be down to 34,000 this winter. By the end of next year -— in just 17 months -— the transition will be complete. Afghans will take full responsibility for their security and our war in Afghanistan will be over,” Obama said.
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