By Geneva Sands - 05/02/12 12:54 AM EDT
"We will shift into a support role as Afghans step forward. As we do,
our troops will be coming home," Obama said in his speech at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
The speech, which coincided with the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, came at the end of the president's unannounced visit to Afghanistan. Obama touted an agreement he signed earlier in the day with President Hamid Karzai outlining the withdrawal of U.S. troops from a combat role.
"Last year, we removed 10,000 U.S. troops
from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer.
After that, reductions will continue at a steady pace, with 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," he said.
The president said that the agreement reached between the two countries includes continued cooperation from the United States, but also Afghan commitments to transparency, accountability and the protection of human rights.
"We will work with the Afghans to determine what support they need to accomplish two narrow security missions beyond 2014: counterterrorism and continued training. But we will not build permanent bases in this country, nor will we be patrolling its cities and mountains. That will be the job of the Afghan people," he added.
Read more about the president's speech in Afghanistan.