Quantcast
Latest Stories

Obama says 34,000 US troops to leave Afghanistan


President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. AP/Charles Dharapak

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that 34,000 troops would be pulled out of Afghanistan in the next year, and vowed that by the end of 2014 the US war in the country would be over.

“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home,” Obama said in his State of the Union address, winning applause and a standing ovation from lawmakers.

The long-awaited move effectively halves the size of the current 66,000-strong US force in Afghanistan, ahead of a final withdrawal of most foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.

“We can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan, and achieve our objective of defeating the core of Al-Qaeda,” Obama said in praising the sacrifices made since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled its Taliban rulers.

“Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”

There were no immediate details of how quickly the drawdown would take place. But a senior Pentagon official told AFP earlier that it would be tied to the fighting season in Afghanistan, which runs into the fall.

“The commanders will have discretion on pace and focus will be (on) keeping as many forces in play until after the fighting season,” the official said, adding that outgoing US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta supports the plan.

A senior US official said Obama had telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to inform them of his decision.

Debate is also taking place within the administration on the size of a residual force — to train Afghan soldiers and to conduct counterterrorism missions — that will remain behind after the formal withdrawal.

The administration was “negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of Al-Qaeda and their affiliates,” Obama said.

Last month, US officials suggested it was theoretically possible that Washington would leave no troops in the country, though some observers saw that move as a negotiating tactic with Karzai in town.

The senior official said that Washington remained committed to a long-term strategic partnership with Afghanistan, and reiterated that talks on a bilateral security agreement were still taking place.

Afghanistan has committed to taking full responsibility for its own security after US forces leave, and the White House said Afghan security forces now count 352,000 troops, thanks to a broad NATO training effort.

NATO says it will no longer lead combat operations in the next two years, but will provide support to Afghan soldiers.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Afghanistan , Military , News , Obama , State of Union , US , world




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  2. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  3. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  4. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  5. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. At 77, Erap has Easter treat for Manila cops but keeps City Hall folk in agony
  8. Solons seek ample protection for bank depositors
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Bad weather halts rescue after deadliest Everest disaster
  • Gigi Reyes has no other option but to turn state witness — Santiago
  • US weighing military exercises in Eastern Europe
  • Rains loom in Surigao as LPA nears
  • Sub search for missing jet to be finished in week
  • Sports

  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement