News - Afghanistan
US President Barack Obama said Friday that the US mission in Afghanistan will end in the same way that it ended in Iraq two years ago: responsibly.
During his Friday visit to Fort Bliss army base in El Paso, Texas, Obama emphasised that US forces will remain "vigilant" in protecting Afghanistan from becoming a source of anti-US attacks again, saying that the transition is underway to bring Afghan officials into the leading roles in military operations.
"Because of their [US troops] sacrifice, because of your service, we pushed the Taliban back. We are training Afghan forces. The transition to Afghan-lead is under way, and as promised more than 30,000 of our troops will have come home by next month. Just as in Iraq, we are going to end this war responsibly," Obama said, adding that transition will end by 2014 and Afghans will take the lead.
"Next year Afghans will take the lead for their own security. In 2014 the transition will be complete. And even as this war ends, we will stay vigilant so Afghanistan is never again a source for attacks against America," he added.
Obama described the withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan as the US winding down a decade of war after having restored America's leadership in the world.
"Around the world there is a new attitude toward America, new confidence in our leadership. When people are asked, 'which country do you admire most?' one nation always comes out on top. The United States of America. And that's the progress that we have made, thanks to your incredible service," he said.
"We are winding down a decade of war. We are destroying terrorist networks that attacked us and we've restored American leadership. Today every American can be proud that the United States is safer, the United States is stronger and the United States is more respected in the world."
Fort Bliss soldiers participated in the Iraqi invasion in 2003 and were among the last to serve in combat roles there.
According to officials, Afghan security forces have security responsibility for 75 percent of the country.