Obama sets sights on exit from Afghanistan war
WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama's announcement to withdraw half the US force in Afghanistan shows his determination to end the war, but leaves open the question of long-term American support for Kabul.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama unveiled plans to scale back American forces from 66,000 to 32,000 within 12 months, as part of a long-standing goal by Washington and its allies to pull out nearly all combat troops by the end of 2014.
"Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over," Obama said.
The move reflects the administration's commitment to turn the page on the conflict, after concluding that a large-scale counterinsurgency campaign was not worth pursuing amid stalemate on the battlefield and more than a decade of troop casualties, analysts said.