It was Obama's fourth trip to Afghanistan, his third as commander in chief. He was about seven hours on the ground in all. He also visited troops at a hospital at the Bagram base, awarding 10 Purple Hearts.
The written agreement that he and Karzai signed is to cover the decade after the planned final withdrawal of U.S. combat troops in 2014. Obama said American forces will be involved in counter-terrorism and training of the Afghan military. “But we will not build permanent bases in this country, nor will we be patrolling its cities and mountains.”
In his speech to the nation, Obama said, “I recognize many Americans are tired of war.”
He said that last year, “we removed 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer. After that, reductions will continue at a steady pace, with more of our troops coming home. And as our coalition agreed, by the end of 2014 the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country.”