No US Troops in Afghanistan after 2016: Obama
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced the US would have 9,800 troops in Afghanistan at the beginning of 2015 if the new president agreed to sign the bilateral security agreement.
The US would withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. “At the beginning of 2015, we will have approximately 9,800 US service members in different parts of the country, together with our NATO allies and other partners.”
In a statement he read to the nation from the White House Rose Garden, Obama said by the end of 2015, the US would have reduced that presence by roughly half, consolidating troops in Kabul and on Bagram Airfield.
“One year later, by the end of 2016, our military will draw down to a normal embassy presence in Kabul, with a security assistance component, just as we’ve done in Iraq,” he added.
His new strategy, Obama claimed, would not only allow him to bring his troops home but will also allow the US to redirect some of the resources saved by ending these two wars to respond more nimbly to the changing threat of terrorism, while addressing a broader set of priorities around the globe.
Obama said starting next year, Afghans would 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.”
Obama said that on Wednesday he would go to the West Point military academy near New York and speak to America’s newest class of military officers to “discuss how Afghanistan fits into our broader strategy going forward”.