President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday to visit troops who will keep a limited role in the country even after their combat mission ends later in 2014, according to The Associated Press.
“America’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan will endure,” he pledged.
Obama spoke to troops who gathered in an airplane hangar on Sunday. He said that the war has gotten to a pivotal point due to Afghan forces taking over primary control of the country’s security. He also said that some of the 32,800 troops in the country will remain after the 13 years of fighting comes to a close.
“After all the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains that you have helped to win, and we’re going to make sure that Afghanistan can never again, ever, be used again to launch an attack against our country,” Obama declared.
Thousands of U.S. troops have been injured, with at least 2,181 making the ultimate sacrifice during the war.
“For many of you, this will be your last tour in Afghanistan. America’s war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end.”
Obama said that he hopes the government of Afghanistan will sign a bilateral security agreement soon so U.S. troops can train forces and start counterterrorism efforts. The president also said that he is considering keeping 10,000 troops in the country, bus has yet to make the decision. That announcement could come Wednesday when the president delivers a commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Obama visited Bagram Airfield in his first trip to the country since 2012. He spent four hours at the base and did not go to Kabul to meet Hamid Karzai, the country’s president. The office of Karzai declined a U.S. Embassy invite to meet Obama in Bagram.
Country singer Brad Paisley accompanied the president to the country and entertained the troops while they waited to hear from Obama.