WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the United States is finishing the job it started in Afghanistan.
The president says he will seek to bring the U.S. force in Afghanistan down to 9,800 as the American combat mission ends later this year. He then intends to withdraw most those forces by the end of 2016.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Obama declared: "This is the year we will conclude our combat mission in Afghanistan."
Obama says U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan longer than many Americans expected. He says the forces have struck significant blows against al-Qaida's leadership, eliminated Osama bin Laden and prevented Afghanistan from being used as a base against the U.S.