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Washington - Jan. 11
1. SOUNDBITE: President Barack Obama :
The 33,000 additional forces that I ordered to Afghanistan have served with honor. They've completed their mission and, as promised, returned home this past fall. The transition is well under way and soon nearly 90 percent of Afghans will live in areas where Afghan forces are in the lead for their own security.
This year will mark another milestone. Afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country. And by the end of next year, 2014, the transition will be complete. Afghans will have full responsibility for their security, and this war will come to a responsible end.
SOUNDBITE: President Barack Obama
Starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission: training, advising, assisting Afghan forces. It will be a historic moment and another step toward full Afghan sovereignty, something I know that President Karzai cares deeply about, as do the Afghan people.
SOUNDBITE Hamid Karzai - Afghan President
I thank the president for the help that the US has given to the Afghan people. For all the gains we've had in the past 10 years and that those gains will be kept by any standard while we are working for peace and stability in Afghanistan including respect for Afghan constitution.
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.