Obama: Troops done in Afghanistan in 2014
LISBON, Portugal (AP) – President Barack Obama on Saturday said for the first time he wants U.S. troops out of major combat in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the date he and other NATO leaders set for moving Afghans into the lead role in fighting the Taliban.
Allies had different interpretations of that target’s meaning.
Capping a two-day summit of 28 NATO leaders in this Atlantic port city, Obama said that after a series of public disputes with Afghan President Hamid Karzai – and despite the likelihood of more to come – the U.S. and its NATO partners have aligned their aims for stabilizing the country with Karzai’s eagerness to assume full control.
“My goal is to make sure that by 2014 we have transitioned, Afghans are in the lead and it is a goal to make sure that we are not still engaged in combat operations of the sort we’re involved in now,” Obama told a closing news conference.
For some U.S. allies, 2014 is more than a goal when it comes to shifting their troops from a combat role.