He added that America’s objective of ensuring that al Qaeda
never utilizes Afghanistan to launch attacks on America again was well within reach.
This address came after President Obama had welcomed President Hamid Karzai
to the White House this week to discuss the way forward for both countries. Obama said that, in the past four years, America had ‘dealt devastating blows to al Qaeda’. “We’ve pushed the Taliban
out of their strongholds. And our core objective- the reason we went to war in the first place – is now within reach: ensuring that al Qaeda can never use Afghanistan to launch attacks against America.”
Obama added that the 33,000 additional forces that had been deployed to the war-torn area had ‘completed their mission’ and returned home. He added that by this spring Afghan troops would take over their own defense forces again and that American troops would play a supporting role when they did this. “In the coming months, I’ll announce the next phase of our draw-down. And by the end of next year, America’s war in Afghanistan will be over”.
More than 2000 Americans have lost their lives and thousands sustained injuries since the inception of the war over a decade ago. More than 500 000 have sacrificed their personal lives to serve in Afghanistan.
The president admitted that the road ahead would not be an easy one and that America’s armed forces were not out of danger yet. He added that the focus would shift on rebuilding the nation by shrinking economic deficits and boosting the economy.
Caring for war veterans was also high on the agenda with regards to rebuilding the nation as well as the creation of jobs and the improvement of America’s infrastructure and immigration system. Other priorities on his nation rebuilding list were combating climate change
as well as protection from gun violence.
“These, too, will be difficult missions for America. But they must be met. And if we can summon just a fraction of the determination of our men and women in uniform, I know we can meet them,” he concluded.