Obama to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2016
“We have to recognize that Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one,” Obama said.
By the end of 2016, the U.S. presence would be cut to a normal embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as was done in Iraq.
Any U.S. military presence beyond 2014 is contingent on Afghanistan’s government signing a bilateral security agreement with the United States.
“But this is how wars end in the 21st century: not through signing ceremonies but through decisive blows against our adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility,” he said.
“The President’s decision to set an arbitrary date for the full withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is a monumental mistake and a triumph of politics over strategy,” Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham said in a statement.
“We never signed up to be the permanent security force in Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
Remaining U.S. and NATO forces will advise Afghan forces, focusing on functions such as budgeting, logistics, and support for security institutions.
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