[Update, 7:43 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, said in a U.S.-televised address that "the goal that I set to defeat al Qaeda and deny it the chance to rebuild is now within our reach."
By the end of 2014, Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country, he said.
"I will not keep Americans in harm's way a single day longer than is required for our security, but we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan and end this war responsibly," Obama said.
Obama's remarks came during a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan. He arrived late Tuesday night.
During the visit, Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that outlines cooperation between their countries after the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces in 2014.
[Update, 4:07 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that outlines cooperation between their countries after the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces in 2014.
[Update, 3:17 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama made a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday, the first anniversary of the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan.
On his third trip to Afghanistan since taking office, Obama will meet with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and make a televised address from Afghanistan at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Tuesday's visit comes at a particularly delicate time in relations between the United States and Afghanistan. The countries have been negotiating a strategic agreement that would outline the basis for U.S.-Afghan cooperation after most U.S. and allied troops withdraw in 2014.
Obama and Karzai are expected to sign the agreement on Tuesday.
More than 130,000 troops from 50 countries serve in Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force. The United States is the biggest contributor, providing around 90,000 troops, followed by the United Kingdom (9,500), Germany (4,800) and France (3,600).
The Afghan people have been under siege from foreign powers for centuries. Each group of invaders have been somehow been defeated or forced to withdraw. It's about time the nations of the world left the indigenous people of Afghanistan alone to their own device(s). We can help them ease out of the 19th century, from afar ...You can't bomb civilization or 21st century democracy into being. Only time will allow this to happen in a land with an aancient tribal culture.
Our President combines his Brain Power with , Common Sense and Kindness.
US should end this war TODAY. Obama promised that he would bring our troops home. What happened to that promise?
He promised to bring them home from Iraq. He promised to send more troops to Afghanistan because the war there lacked manpower. He did that. Now he is trying to get diplomatic and get those in Afghanistan to stand on they're own. Let us see how bad they want to rid themselves of the people who want to kill them.
He can't just click his heels together and poof get is out of this mess! Relax. It will happen
OK so it will happen one of these days but what about all the money we are spending on this useless nation. What about all the young man and women still dying and for what? No one seems to know how we will know we have won that war. What will the prize be? Why can't we spend that money in this nation, making our nation safer by firming up our borders. We are still wide open how many years after 9/11? Long past time for the exit.
Sadly I think that in the end we will have accomplised nothing! These countries live in the past, and their history shows nothing but violence against their own people. Their children are "brainwashed" from birth to continue the hate. WE need to wake up and realize that we cannot change a countries history and beleifs and bring all our troops home and then let them kill each other off, which for them is normal.
So maybe we should send people to educate and instill critical thinking to the women and children of Afghanistan.
Scottish Mama I have a better idea. Why don't we keep our nose out of other people's business and take care of business at home. With our terrible USA education system we hardly need to spend that money over seas.
@ Portland tony
Well said & true.
There are lessons from history that we always ignore to our own peril.
President Obama's trip was obviously a typical election year move, which any other president would have been obliged to undertake.
I just hope that " ending this war responsibly" whatever that means, comes true sooner rather than later.
The misconception that left alone the Afghans would kill each other off is a sad wishful one. They have a history going back thousands of years. They have prospered and ruled. Traders & warriors they have always been. Never surrendering to foreign invaders. Left alone they'll gon with their lives the way their faith & culture dictates not kill each other off.
@saywhat but not trying to change things never pushed a change in policy. Having Karzai on the international stage signing and having to fullfil certain criteria makes im the person in the spotlight with his people and around the globe. If he fails we can push for a different leader. If we educate his people in what needs to be the truth while we disengage ourselves from their country. Most in the country are uneducated and should be done to help them fight against the people who wish to keep them (women and children) under their control.
As I watch the reports regarding President Obama's trip to Afghanistan and plans for the troops to pull out soon, I wonder if anyone thinking about Bowe Bergdahl, the US Army POW in Afghanistan? He's been in the their "care" since 2009. Is anyone utilizinig Prsident Obama's new contacts to bring this young man home?
Wow jj, that was awesome! And i thought all this time you were anti OBAMA! Do you all remember all the flack our POTUS took about pulling ALL of the troops out of IRAQ without leaving some to train their military? Damned if he does, and damned if he dont!
@ Scottish Mama
Lack of education & poverty is not just Afghan issue. Its now the bane of an unfortunately large segment of humanity. And that breeds discontent & violence. Own agenda has kept the more fortunate countries to look away from this growing root cause.
The 'truth' is to leave their faith & culture alone. Majority of Afghans do not approve of Talibans or their brand of faith. our policies push them towards that extreme.
Pre Soviet invasion Afghanistan was a country worth investing in. Its the foreign invaders who have always contributed greatly to the plight of that nation.
As for all his change promiser, those were made with the assumption that he would have with a *working team* ie: congress, behind him as all other POTUSs have had. Unfortunately they were working alright, only they were *working against him!*
That sadly is true @ chrissy.
Why not leave, all US/EUROS objectives have been met, pipelines mostly completed, an independent military force made up of troops both private and metcenaroy from upper Caspian sea nations will guard rhose pipelines from Mongolia to Black Sea, and we got a puppet King guarded by US MERCS who we can always blame when things go boom in the night.
Just as in Iraq our new MULTI BILLION $ Embasy will control all real financial controls as only foreign contractors while being paid by Afghans miniscule funds can rebuilb the country
Oh and do not forgrotp the military base now oened by old Blackwater o. Caspian Sea that trains the private pipeline forces.
Leaving IRAQ or AFGHANISTAN?
We own them both!
lol good afternoon saywhat. Hopefully our fellow americans will this come voting time eh? Time to oust the people in government that seem to think they work for corporations and not the citizens of the US.
A very good afternoon to you too @ chrissy. Amen to that.
nice words from someone who takes all the credit for killing bin laden.i dont see what was so hard about the decision.the only part obama had in it was to say yes go ahead with the mission or no abort mission.it was the bush administration that put in place policies people and strategy that gave obama that option.
Way to revise history. If Bush had the policies in place, what was he waiting for? He couldn't find him. Obama did. He DESERVES that credit, as he GOT OBL.
What's to credit?
All Obama did was watch a TV screen?
This blog – This Just In – will no longer be updated. Looking for the freshest news from CNN? Go to our ever-popular CNN.com homepage on your desktop or your mobile device, and join the party at @cnnbrk, the world's most-followed account for news.