President Barack Obama announced a major U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan, with 10,000 troops to removed by the end of the year.
The move comes a year-and-a-half after the President sent 33,000 additional troops into Afghanistan, but promised to begin withdrawing troops by July of 2011. In his national address Wednesday evening, the President said the U.S. is "meeting our goals."
"The tide of war is receding," he said. "The light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance."
After the initial 10,000 troops are withdrawn by the end of 2011, the plan is for a total of 33,000 troops to leave Afghanistan by the beginning of September of 2012. President Obama said that by 2014, the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security and that America's mission in the country will change "from combat to support."
The war on Afghanistan launched in 2001, just weeks after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and has led to more than 1,500 U.S. troop fatalities. President Obama expressed hope that the U.S. could help make Afghanistan "sustain peace" and continue an enduring partnership with the country.
"The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: no safe-haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland, or our allies," the President said. "It is time to focus on nation-building here at home. ... These long wars will come to a responsible end."