Obama: U.S. combat role in Afghanistan winding down
U.S. president visits Afghanistan on anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death
At the end of a surprise trip to Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama
bin Laden's death, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that the U.S.
combat role in Afghanistan is winding down, just as it has already ended
President Obama made his remarks in Afghanistan with two armored troop carriers as a backdrop, amid his endeavor to win re-election as U.S. president.
Obama gave a speech after signing an agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, setting post-war promises and expectations.
Obama made his remarks with two armored troop carriers as a backdrop, amid his endeavor to win re-election as U.S. president.
He said that he would maintain the steady withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and that there was a "clear path to fulfill our mission" after more than 10 years of military involvement.
"My fellow Americans, we have travelled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon," he said.
"The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm's way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon."
The international community has is viewing as a significant speech. "The president was really clear. This is a huge day for the Afghan people," Wahid Monawar, former Afghan ambassador to the U.N. atomic agency told an Al Jazeera correspondent.
"To reach the agreement, it went through a lot of impediments. There was the issue of the transfer of detainees to Afghan responsibility, the night raids.
"All of that was overcome by the two governments, so I can definitely congratulate the Afghan government for reaching the agreement."
Obama was also seeking to reassure Afghans that Washington was not abandoning them in the face of a continuing Taliban insurgency. Most U.S. and NATO troops are due to leave in 2014.
Obama and Karzai signed a strategic partnership accord that charts the future of U.S. -Afghan relations beyond the end of the NATO combat mission in the country in 2014.
The partnership spells out the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan beyond 2014, covering security, economics and governance.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: U.S. President Barack Obama, Afghanistan, withdrawal, war
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