Obama warns Afghanistan remains dangerous
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US president Barack Obama on Sunday declared the war against terrorism in Afghanistan had now come to a responsible conclusion, but warned the country remained a dangerous place.
“Afghanistan remains a dangerous place and the Afghan people and their security forces continue to make tremendous sacrifices in defence of their country,” Obama said in a statement after a formal ceremony in Kabul ended the US and NATO combat mission.
Obama said the US would maintain a limited military presence in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist Afghan forces and to conduct counterterrorism operations against the remnants of Al Qaeda at the invitation of the Afghan government.
He said the US personnel would continue to face risks, reflecting the enduring commitment of the United States to the Afghan people.
From January 1, the Operation Enduring Freedom would be replaced by Operation Freedom's Sentinel, to help secure and build upon the gains of the last 13 years.
“Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” he said.
During these 13 years, Obama said US troops had devastated the core Al Qaeda leadership, delivering justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives.
“We are safer, and our nation is more secure, because of their service. At the same time, our courageous military and diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan along with our NATO allies and coalition partners have helped the Afghan people reclaim their communities, take the lead for their own security, hold historic elections and complete the first democratic transfer of power in their country's history,” he said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said from January 1, US would work with allies and partners as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission to continue training, advising, and assisting Afghan security forces.
“And we will continue our counterterrorism mission against the remnants of Al Qaeda to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to stage attacks against our homeland,” he said.
The United States remained strongly committed to a sovereign, secure, stable, and unified Afghanistan, Hagel said.
He added that as the US responsibly drawdown its military presence, it will continue to partner together with Afghan forces to combat terrorism and create a better future for the Afghan people.
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