EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

May 26, 2014

Obama signals to keep limited Afghanistan role

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) — President Barack Obama slipped into Afghanistan for a surprise visit yesterday and made clear that the U.S. will likely maintain a limited role here even after its combat mission ends this year and America’s longest war comes to a close.

“America’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan will endure,” he pledged.

Speaking to troops gathered in an airplane hangar on this sprawling military base, Obama said the war had reached a pivotal point, with Afghan forces assuming primary responsibility for their country’s security. But while many of the 32,800 U.S. forces now in Afghanistan will leave in the coming months, Obama said a continued military presence could help protect gains made during nearly 13 years of fighting.

“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.

At least 2,181 members of the U.S. military have died during the nearly 13-year Afghan war and thousands more have been wounded.

Obama told the troops, “For many of you, this will be your last tour in Afghanistan,” a comment was met with an eruption of applause. “America’s war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end.”

The president appeared optimistic that the Afghan government soon would sign a bilateral security agreement allowing the U.S. to keep some forces in the country to train Afghans and launch counterterrorism operations. He has been considering keeping up to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan and said he would announce his decision shortly.

That announcement could come as early as Wednesday, when Obama delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel David Perdue Wins Georgia GOP Senate Runoff 98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Raw: MD Church Built in 1773 Ravaged by Fire Flight to Tel Aviv From US Diverted to Paris AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed
Latest World News
Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Raw: Rescue Workers at Taiwan Plane Crash Site Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Fighting Rages Amid Mideast Truce Push Raw: Secretary of State Kerry in Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Raw: Typhoon Brings Heavy Wind, Rain to Taiwan Today in History for July 23rd Flight to Tel Aviv From US Diverted to Paris Raw: Massive Explosion in Gaza City Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine
Photos of the Week