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U.S. to Scale Back Presence in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan is winding down, as President Obama announced that forces will switch to a supporting role this year.

U.S. to Scale Back Presence in Afghanistan

The American presence in Afghanistan will shrink and take on a supporting role for Afghan forces, President Barack Obama announced at a Friday press conference.

The transition, which comes months after 33,000 troops who were added as part of a boost were withdrawn last fall, will involve having Afghan forces take over primary responsbility for the entire country's security, Obama said in a statement

"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," Obama in his statement.

Obama made his remarks as part of a visit from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was on hand at the briefing, the White House announced.

American soldiers will continue to support Afghans, the president noted.

"Our troops will continue to fight alongside Afghans, when needed," he said in his statement. "But let me say it as plainly as I can:  Starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission -- training, advising, assisting Afghan forces.  It will be an historic moment and another step toward full Afghan sovereignty  -- something I know that President Karzai cares deeply about, as do the Afghan people."

A security agreement for America's post-2014 role in Afghanistan is still being discussed, Obama said.

To read the full marks from the president, and from Karzai, click here for a transcript from the White House.

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