President Obama wrapped up his surprise trip to Afghanistan—during which he signed an accord with Hamid Karzai on how the US will wind down its presence after 2014—with an address to Americans. He declared that the US has “a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan,” but vowed to end war “responsibly,” reports CNN and the New York Times. Some excerpts:
- “My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the predawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.”
- “The goal that I set, to defeat al-Qaeda and deny it the chance to rebuild, is now within our reach.”
- “I recognize that many Americans are tired of war. 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 responsibly.”
- “We’re going to make sure that the gains, the hard-fought gains that have been made, are preserved.” He promised the US would “fight alongside” the Afghans when necessary, even after 2014.
- “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.”