Obama announces the end of most combat operations in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama
said he would speed up troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, signaling his intention to accelerate the end of America's longest war.
After White House meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday, Mr. Obama said the U.S. is moving up the schedules for pulling American forces out of Afghan villages and for ending most unilateral combat operations. That is possible, he said, thanks to what he described as recent gains by U.S. troops and progress in training Afghan security forces to take the combat lead.
President Obama and Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai said they have agreed to speed up the schedule for moving Afghanistan's security forces into the lead across the country, with U.S. troops shifting fully to a support role.
"The reason we went to war in the first place is now within reach: ensuring that al Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against our country," Mr. Obama said.
"Starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission—training, advising, assisting Afghan forces," he added. "This sets the stage for the further reduction of coalition forces."
Our progress........ only 1 in 23 Afghan brigades are ready to handle their own security.........public info
A new report released by the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday finds that just one of the Afghan National Army's 23 brigades is capable of operating on its own without NATO support. The report's dismal findings continue with an assessment that violence is higher than it was before the 2009 surge, the Taliban have proved resilient, corruption continues to plague the central government, and Pakistan continue to provide support to the insurgency.