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WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>President Obama Discusses Afghanistan Drawdown

President Obama Discusses Afghanistan Drawdown

May 27, 2014|

President Obama in the Rose Garden explains how troops will be gradually drawn down from Afghanistan.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is the CBS news special report a presidential statement on Afghanistan. I'm Dan revealed. President Obama was about to speak in the Sunday Rose Garden at the White House. With plans for the US military presence in Afghanistan. A CBS news White House correspondent Peter -- a whatever he's about to announce. How is it connected with his surprise visit to the troops in Afghanistan on Sunday. Well -- that while he was there he did meet with top the military and intelligence officials during the four hours that he spent on the ground. We're told those discussions and the political and military situation on the ground. Gave the president the confidence the -- comfort zone if you will. To announce this decision that day he plans to keep 9800. US troops in Afghanistan. Towards the end of the year going into 2015 US is satisfied. With the security that Afghan forces have provided for recent elections there. And they say that each of the two candidates vying to succeed President Karzai. As indicated a willingness to sign a new security agreement a bilateral security agreement with the US. That would be the linchpin down for the president's plan to take effect. CBS news military analyst retired army colonel Jeff -- -- Just briefly what is -- that US troops might still be doing in Afghanistan next year. Permissions then the president talked about during that meeting. They can cobble. On Avandia that is personal training and supporting Afghan national. Security level -- to hear it from the president mr. Obama at the podium in the Rose Garden. As you know this weekend I traveled to Afghanistan to thank our men and women in uniform and I deploy its billions. On behalf -- a great formation. For the extraordinary sacrifices they've -- combat -- security. I was also able to meet what are commanding general and ambassador who reviewed the progress that we made. It's -- like to update the American people on the way forward in Afghanistan. And how this year. We will bring America's longest war to a responsible end. The United States. Did not seek this fight. We went into Afghanistan. Out of necessity after our nation was attacked by al-Qaeda. On September 11 2001. We want to war against al-Qaeda and its extremist allies with the strong support the American people and the representatives in congress. With the international community. And our NATO allies. And with the Afghan people. Welcome the opportunity of a life free from the dark tyranny of extremist. We have now been in Afghanistan longer than many Americans expected. But make no mistake. Thanks to the skill. And sacrifice our troops. Diplomats and intelligence professionals we have struck significant blows against Al qaeda's leadership. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. We've prevented Afghanistan from being used to launch attacks against our homeland. We've also supported the Afghan people as they continue the hard work of building a democracy. We've extended more opportunities to other people including women and girls. And we've helped train and equip their own security forces. Now we're finishing the job we started. Over the last several years we've worked to transition security responsibilities. To the Afghans. One year ago Afghan forces assumed the lead for combat operations. Since then they've continued to grow in size and and strike while making huge sacrifices. For their country. This transition has allowed us to steadily drawn out our own forces. From a peak of a 100000 US troops. To roughly 32000 today. 2014. Therefore is a pivotal year. Together -- our allies and Afghan government we have agreed that this is the year we will conclude. Our combat mission in Afghanistan. There's also a year of political transition in Afghanistan. Earlier this spring Afghans turned out in the millions to vote in the first round of their presidential election. Defying threats. In order to determine their own destiny. And in just over two weeks there will vote for the next president. In Afghanistan Woolsey its first democratic transfer power in history. In the context of this progress having consulted with congress and my national security team. I've determine the nature of the commitment that America is prepared to make beyond twenty -- Our objectives are clear. Disrupting threats posed by al-Qaeda. Supporting. Afghan security forces. In giving the Afghan people the opportunity to succeed as they stand on -- Here's how will pursue those objectives. First. America's combat mission will be over by the end of this year. Starting next year Afghans will be fully responsible for securing. Their country. American personnel will be in an advisory role we will no longer patrol Afghan cities or towns. Mountains or valleys. That is a task. For the Afghan people. Second. I've made it clear. That were open to cooperating with -- Afghans on to -- missions after 2014. Training Afghan forces. And supporting counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al-Qaeda. Today ought to be clear about how the United States is prepared to advance those missions. At the beginning of 2050. We will have approximately 98000. US. Let me start federal. Just as I wanna make sure we don't get -- written wrong. At the beginning of -- fifteen. We will have. Approximately 9800. 9800. US service members in different parts of the country. Together whether -- NATO allies and other partners. By the end of 2015. We will have reduced that presence by roughly half. And we'll have consolidated our troops in Kabul. And on Barbara matter field. One year later. By the end of twice sixteen. Our military will draw down to a normal embassy presence in Kabul. Where -- security assistance component just as we've done in Iraq. -- even as our troops come home. The international community will continue to support Afghans rebuild their country for years to come. But our relationship will not be defined by war. It'll be shaped by our financial and development assistance as well as our diplomatic support. Our commitment to Afghanistan. Is rooted in the strategic partnership that we agreed to in 2012 in this plan remains consistent -- discussions we've had. With our NATO -- Just as our allies have been with us every step of the way in Afghanistan. We expect that our allies will be with us going for. -- We will only sustain this military presence after 2014. If the Afghan government signs the blight lateral security agreement that our two governments have already negotiated. This agreement is essential to give our troops the authorities they need to fulfill their mission. While respecting Afghan sovereignty. The two final Afghan candidates in the run off election for president and each indicated. That they would sign this agreement probably after taking office. So I'm hopeful that we can get this done. The bottom line is it's time to turn the page on more than a decade in which sold much of our foreign policy. Was focused on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When I took office. We had nearly a 180000. Troops in harm's way. By the end of this year. We will have less than 101000. In addition to bring our troops home this new chapter in American foreign policy will allow us. To redirect some of the resources saved by ending these war us. To respond more nimbly to the changing threat of terrorism. While addressing a broader set of priorities around the globe. I think Americans have learned that it's. Harder to end wars and has to begin. If this is how wars and and 20% for. After signing ceremonies but through decisive blows against our adversaries. Transitions to elected governments. Security forces were trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility. We remain committed. To a sovereign. Secure. Stable and unified Afghanistan. And toward that end we will continue to support Afghan led efforts to promote peace in their country to reconciliation. We have to recognize Afghanistan will not be a perfect place. And it is not America's responsibility to make it one. The future of Afghanistan must be decided by Afghans. What the United States candor. What we will do. -- secure our interests and helped give Afghans a chance and opportunity. To seek a long overdue. And harder and peace. America will always keep our commitments to friends and partners who stepped up and we will never waiver. In our determination to deny al-Qaeda the safe haven that they had before not a lot. That commitment is embodied by the men and women in and out of uniform who serve and Afghanistan today. And who have served in the past. In their eyes I see the character that sustains American security. And our leadership abroad. Is -- mostly young people who did not hesitate to volunteer at a time of war. And as many of them begin to transition to civilian life we will keep the promise we make to them. And all veterans. And make sure they get the care and benefits they've earned and deserve. This 9/11 generations part of the unbroken line. Of heroes who give up the comfort of the familiar to serve. I half world away. To protect their families and communities back home and to give people they never thought they'd -- The chance to live a better life. It is an extraordinary sacrifice. For them and for their families. But we shouldn't be surprised that there won't make it. That's who we are as Americans. That's what we do. Tomorrow travel to West Point and speak to America's newest class of military officers. To discuss how Afghanistan fits into our broader strategy going forward. And I'm confident that we carry out this approach. We can. Not only responsibly and our war in Afghanistan. And achieve the objectives that took us to war in the first place. We'll also be able to begin a new chapter in the story of American leadership. Around the world. Thanks very much. And as expected the president is not taking questions that was Barack Obama speaking at a podium in the Rose Garden of the White House. Live coverage from CBS news. Lester to CBS news military analyst retired army colonel Jeff but cost Linda does the Obama plan but he just outlined. Raping a small number of US troops in Afghanistan next year fewer than 101000. And also -- 2016 and then down practically to zero. Does that make sense to you will the US be able to do anything there. Because it has media to those two missions one train supporting Afghan security forces as well having special operations president. To attack residual oil cut its widely believe as well. -- US military support this particular recommendation. That being said. The company Rory being so criticized him for telegraphing our -- is if you will. But everybody out in 2016. Supporters the president Sheryl today. While holding the Afghans accountable in new government accountable and bring in his longest war in American history -- -- Jeff what cost Lendale White House correspondent Peter -- the plan President Obama revealed. Includes almost no US troops after 2016. And that coincides with the end of his term it is the timing partly political. I'm I'm not sure you would discredit his political although Dan it is something the president to promise from the get go when he was first elected he went out of his way to date to -- give the hard numbers if you will -- 180000 troops in harm's way by his count when he took office and fewer than 101000 heading into the coming year. The president tomorrow -- collaborate on his statement that it's time to turn the page on a decade it's been so much focused. On these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He will be speaking to the commencement ceremony at the US military academy at West Point. White House correspondent Peter -- more from him as this story unfolds. On our radio stations and the free app for your Smartphones CBS radio news. For now this has been a CBS news special report a presidential statement on Afghanistan. I'm Dan -- even Washington.

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