Obama: Clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan
President addresses nation from Afghanistan
- Duration 10:44
- Date May 1, 2012
President addresses nation from Afghanistan
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From -- -- air base.
This outpost is more than 7000 miles from home.
But for over a decade.
It's been close to our hearts.
Because here in Afghanistan.
More than half a million of our sons and daughters have sacrificed.
To protect our country.
Today I signed a historic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that defines a new kind of relationship between our countries.
The future in which Afghans are responsible.
For the security of their nation.
And we build an equal partnership between two Sovereign States.
A future in which war ends.
And new chapter begins.
Tonight I like to speak to you about this transition.
But first let us remember why we came here.
It was here in Afghanistan.
Or Osama bin Laden established a safe haven first terrorist organization.
It was here in Afghanistan where al-Qaeda brought new recruits.
Train them and plotted acts of terror.
It was here from within these borders.
And al-Qaeda launched -- attacks that killed nearly 3000 innocent men women and children.
So ten years ago.
The United States are allies went to war to make sure that al-Qaeda could never again use this country to launch attacks against us.
Despite initial success for a number of reasons.
This war has taken longer than most anticipated.
In 2000 Toobin Lawton and and his lieutenants escaped across the border and establish safe haven in -- stuff.
America spent nearly eight years fighting a different war in Iraq.
And Al qaeda's extremist allies within the -- -- have waged a brutal insurgency.
Over the last three years the -- -- term.
We broke the told -- -- momentum.
We've built strong Afghan security forces.
We devastated Al qaeda's leadership taking out over when he of their top thirty leaders.
One year ago from base here in Afghanistan.
-- troops launched the operation that killed -- been -- The goal that I set.
To defeat al-Qaeda and denied a chance to rebuild.
Is now within our reach.
Still there will be difficult days ahead.
Enormous sacrifices of our men and women are not over.
But tonight I'd like to tell you how we will complete our mission and end the war in Afghanistan.
First we've begun a transition to Afghan responsibility for security.
Already nearly half of the Afghan people live in places where Afghan security forces are moving into the -- This month that a NATO summit in Chicago.
Our coalition will set a goal for Afghan forces to be in the lead for combat operations across the country next year.
International troops will continue to train advise and assist the Afghans and fight alongside them when needed.
Well we will shift into a support role as Afghans step forward.
As we do our troops will be coming home.
Last year we were moved 101000 US troops from Afghanistan.
Another 23000 will leave by the end of the summer.
After that reductions will continue at a steady pace would more and more of our troops coming home.
And as our coalition agreed by the end of 2014.
The Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country.
We are training Afghan security forces to get the job done.
Those forces of search it will peek at 352000.
The Afghans will sustain that level for three years and then reduce the size of their military.
And in Chicago we will endorse a proposal to support a strong and sustainable.
Long term Afghan force.
Third we're building an enduring partnership.
The agreement we signed today sends a clear message to the Afghan people.
As you stand up you will not stand -- It establishes the basis for our cooperation over the next decade including shared commitments to combat terrorism.
And strengthen democratic institutions.
It supports Afghan efforts to advance development and dignity for the people.
And includes Afghan commitments to transparency and accountability.
And a -- human rights of all Afghans.
Men and women.
Boys and girls.
Within this framework.
We'll work with the Afghans to determine what support they need to accomplish too -- security missions beyond 4014.
And continued training.
But we will not build permanent bases in this country.
Nor will we be patrolling -- cities and mountains that will be the job of the Afghan people.
Fourth were pursuing a negotiated peace.
In coordination with the Afghan government my administration has been in direct discussions with the -- -- We've made it clear that they can be a part of this future if they break -- al-Qaeda renounce violence.
And abide by Afghan loss.
Many members the -- -- from which soldiers stood leaders.
Have indicated an interest in reconciliation.
The path to peace is now set before.
Those who refuse to -- it will face strong Afghan security forces.
Backed by the United States and our allies.
-- We are building a global consensus to support peace and stability in South -- In Chicago the international community -- expressed support for this plan and for Afghanistan's future.
And I haven't made it clear to its neighbor ought to stop.
That it can and should be an equal partner in this process in a way that respects Pakistan's sovereignty.
Interests and democratic institutions.
In pursuit of a durable peace America has no designs beyond an end to al-Qaeda safe havens.
And respect for Afghan sovereignty.
As we move forward.
Some people ask why we need a firm time line.
The answer is clear.
Our goal is not to build a country in America's image order eradicate every vestige of the -- month.
These objectives would require many more years.
Many more dollars.
Many more American lives.
Our goal is to destroy al-Qaeda and we are on a path to do exactly that.
Afghans wanna assert their sovereignty and build a lasting peace.
That requires a clear timeline to wind down the war.
Others will ask why don't we leave immediately.
That answer is also clear.
We must give Afghanistan the opportunity to stabilize.
Otherwise our gains could be lost and al-Qaeda could establish itself wants more.
As commander in chief I refuse to let that happen.
I recognize that many Americans are tired of war.
As president nothing is more wrenching that signing a letter to a family of the fall.
We're looking into the eyes of a child will grow up without a mother father.
I will not keep Americans in harm's way a single day longer than is absolutely required.
For our national security.
But we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan.
And end this war.
My fellow Americans we traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war.
In the predawn darkness of Afghanistan.
We can see the light of a new day on the horizon.
Iraq War is over.
-- number of our troops in harm's way has been cut in half.
And more will soon be coming home.
We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan.
While delivering justice to all -- This future.
Is only within -- because of our men and women in uniform.
Time and again may have answered the call to serve and distant and dangerous places.
In an age when so many institutions have come up short.
-- Americans stood tall.
They met their responsibilities to one another.
And to the flag they serve -- I just met with some of them told them that as commander in chief I could not be proud -- and in their faces.
We see what is best in ourselves.
And our country.
Airmen Marines coast Guardsmen.
And civilians in Afghanistan have done their duty.
Now we must summon that same sense of common purpose.
We must give our veterans and military families the support they deserve.
And the opportunities they have -- And we must redouble our efforts to build a nation.
Worthy of their sacrifice.
As we -- emerge from a decade of conflict to broaden economic crisis at home.
It's time to renew America.
And America work children live free from fear.
And have the skills to claim their dreams.
A united America.
Of -- and resorts.
Where some like lessons off soaring new towers in downtown Manhattan.
And we build our future as one.
As one nation.
Here in Afghanistan.
Americans answer the call to defend their fellow citizens.
And uphold human dignity.
Today we were called a fault.
And those who suffered -- Both seen and unseen.
But through dark days we have drawn strength from their example.
In the ideals -- -- guided our nation and what the world.
A belief that all people are created equal.
And deserve the freedom to determine their destiny.
That is the white.
The god to still.
This time of war began in Afghanistan.
And this is where what went.
With faith in each other and our eyes fixed on -- future.
Let us finish the work at hand and forge a just and lasting peace.
May god bless our troops.
And may god bless the United States of America.