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President Obama's Weekly Address: Ending the War in Afghanistan

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama reprises the rosy message he delivered Friday on the war in Afghanistan: that the U.S. is achieving its primary objective and on-track to drawdown forces by the end of 2014.
“Our core objective – the reason we went to war in the first place – is now within reach: ensuring that al Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against America,” he says in the address.

“This week, we agreed that this spring, Afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country, and our troops will shift to a support role,” the president says. “In the coming months, I’ll announce the next phase of our drawdown.  And by the end of next year, America’s war in Afghanistan will be over.”

The progress we've seen so far is only possible due to the "heroic sacrifices" of a half million military and civilian Americans, along with forces from other nations, says the president, who points out that thousands have been wounded, and more than 2,000 have given their lives over more than a decade of war.

President Obama cautions that the road ahead will not be easy for our forces still in harm's way.   But now, he says, "[T]he nation we need to rebuild is our own."   

"As we do," he adds, "we have to care for our troops and veterans who fought in our name. We have to grow our economy and shrink our deficits.  Create new jobs and boost family incomes.  We have to fix our infrastructure and our immigration system.  We have to protect our planet from the destructive effects of climate change – and protect our children from the horrors of gun violence."

"These, too, will be difficult missions for America.  But they must be met.  And if we can summon just a fraction of the determination of our men and women in uniform, I know we can meet them.  And I intend to work as hard as I know how to make sure we do."
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