President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team The Memo: Biden looks for way to win back deflated Black voters 6 in 10 say they would back someone other than Biden in 2024: Fox News poll MORE vowed that Afghanistan will not be a source of terrorist attacks in the future, in an address just a week before the U.S. combat mission in the country ends.
Speaking to U.S. troops stationed at the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Obama said their service had given Afghanistan a chance “to rebuild its own country.
“We are safer,” Obama said. “It’s not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again.”
U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan for 13 years and counting, but are scheduled to completely leave the country at the end of 2016, when Obama leaves office.
By the end of this year, Obama had planned to have just 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. It’s not clear if that target will be met, but the White House this month said there will be fewer than 15,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at the end of the year.
There are significant doubts, however, about how safe Afghanistan will be after U.S. troops leave the country, and whether it will again become an easy home for terrorists.
Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Redistricting reform key to achieving the bipartisanship Americans claim to want MORE (R-Ariz.), the incoming Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman and the Republican who Obama defeated for the presidency in 2008, was in Afghanistan on Thursday.
He told Fox News on Thursday that Afghanistan could turn into another Iraq after the departure of U.S. troops. Sunnit extremists with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have overtaken much of Iraq, and have executed several Western hostages.
“We’re going to see the same movie we saw in Iraq,” McCain told Fox.
He urged that Obama reverse course and leave behind a larger “stabilizing force” in Afghanistan.
Obama in the rest of his remarks stuck to giving thanks to U.S. troops stationed around the globe.
“We still have folks in Afghanistan helping the Afghan security forces. We have people helping to deal with Ebola in Africa and obviously we have folks stationed all around the world,” Obama said.
“But the world is better, it’s safer, it’s more peaceful, it’s more prosperous and our homeland is protected because of you and the sacrifices each and every day,” he continued.
“So on a day when we celebrate the Prince of Peace and many of us count or blessings one of the greatest blessings we have is the extraordinary dedication and sacrifices you all make. We could not be more thankful. I know I speak for everyone in the entire country when I say, we salute you.”