WASHINGTON (AP) - Within a few months, U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be shifting to a support role, letting Afghanistan's own troops take the lead in providing for the security of their country.
The accelerated timetable was announced today by President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai after a meeting at the White House.
Obama said the faster transition to Afghan security control will set the stage for further withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign forces. But he didn't say how quickly a U.S. drawdown will be carried out this year and next.
He says plans remain on schedule for having Afghan forces fully responsible for security nationwide by the end of next year.
In a statement, the leaders said they had discussed the possibility of a continued U.S. troop presence beyond then, but they didn't settle on any specifics.
The leaders also said Obama has agreed to place detainees who are captured on the battlefield under the control of the Afghan government.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Afghanistan's own forces will be taking the lead sooner than expected, in providing security across that country. That word comes from President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai after their meeting at the White House today.
Obama says speeding up the transition to Afghan security control this spring will set the stage for further withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign forces. But he didn't say how quickly the U.S. drawdown will take place.
There are currently 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai say in a statement that the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan is expected to shift to a support role later this spring - a few months earlier than expected.
Obama and Karzai were speaking at a news conference Friday, after meeting at the White House on the future of the U.S. role in Afghanistan and the 66,000 American troops serving there.
The leaders say in a joint statement that the military mission will shift from combat to support in the spring. That was originally expected to take place in the summer.
They say at the time of the milestone, most unilateral U.S. combat operations should end, with U.S. forces pulling back their patrols from Afghan villages.
By JULIE PACE and ROBERT BURNS
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai are meeting at the White House to discuss the future of the U.S. role in Afghanistan and the 66,000 American troops in harm's way.
Obama and Karzai plan a news conference Friday afternoon. White House officials say Obama will not announce any decisions on the next phase of troop withdrawals or whether any U.S. forces will stay behind in Afghanistan after the war formally ends in 2014.
U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have proposed keeping 6,000 to 15,000 U.S. troops after 2014 to continuing pursuing terrorists and training Afghan security forces.
The White House tends to favor lower troop levels than military generals. Officials say Obama would be open to pulling all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
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