posted in The Guardian Dec. 28, 2014
President Barack Obama said on Sunday the longest war in American history was coming to a responsible conclusion.
Obama was welcoming the end of US combat operations in Afghanistan, which was marked with a ceremony in Kabul.
Obama, who is on vacation in Hawaii, said in a statement that the international effort in Afghanistan had devastated al-Qaida’s core leadership, brought justice to Osama bin Laden and disrupted terrorist plots. He said US troops and diplomats had helped Afghans reclaim their communities and move toward democracy.
“We honor the profound sacrifices that have made this progress possible,” said Obama. “We salute every American – military and civilian, including our dedicated diplomats and development workers – who have served in Afghanistan, many on multiple tours, just as their families have sacrificed at home.”
Obama honored the more than 2,200 Americans who have died in Afghanistan since the war started 13 years ago. Obama said those years had tested the US and its military. From a peak 140,000 troops in 2010, the US and Nato plan to leave just 13,500 behind.