WASHINGTON: Next week, the United States would end its combat mission in Afghanistan, US President Barack Obama told his troops in a Christmas message.
The president told them that because of their sacrifices, Afghanistan would not be a source of terrorist attacks again.
“We’ve been in continuous war now for over 13 years,” he said. “Next week we will be ending our combat mission in Afghanistan.”
President Obama marked the end of the combat mission with a speech to his troops in Hawaii, telling them that a grateful American nation would not forget their sacrifices.
“Because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the American armed forces, Afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country,” Mr Obama said to applause from US Marines and their families.
“We are safer. It’s not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again.”
From Jan 2, the United States is changing its role in Afghanistan, from combating militants to helping the Afghan forces deal with the Taliban.
The US combat mission in Afghanistan started soon after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
More than 2,200 US troops were killed while the US spent more than a trillion dollars in this fight. More than $100 billion was spent on reconstruction and on raising the Afghan defence forces.
The troops cheered as President Obama told them that the combat phase was over, although he said there were other trouble spots in the world where their services were needed.