WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2014 – President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel each issued statements today marking the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan.
After 13 years of combat operations, Operation Enduring Freedom drew to a close today in a ceremony at the International Security and Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“Today's ceremony in Kabul marks a milestone for our country,” Obama said. “For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.”
“At the end of this year,” Hagel said, “as our Afghan partners assume responsibility for the security of their country, the United States officially concludes Operation Enduring Freedom. … In 2015, we begin our follow-on mission -- Operation Freedom's Sentinel -- to help secure and build upon the hard-fought gains of the last 13 years.”
Today, though, “we give thanks to our troops and intelligence personnel who have been relentless against the terrorists responsible for 9/11 -- devastating the core al-Qaida leadership, delivering justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives,” the president said. read more>>>
December 28, 2014 - At the end of this year, as our Afghan partners assume responsibility for the security of their country, the United States officially concludes Operation Enduring Freedom. Our combat mission in Afghanistan, which began in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, will come to an end.
In 2015, we begin our follow-on mission, Operation Freedom's Sentinel, to help secure and build upon the hard-fought gains of the last 13 years.
I want to express my deep gratitude to all U.S. personnel, both military and civilian, who have served in Afghanistan since 2001, many on multiple deployments. I also thank the thousands more who were a part of the mission at home and around the world. In fighting America's longest war, our people and their families have borne a heavy burden, and some paid the ultimate price.
From my first trip to Afghanistan in 2002 to my visit earlier this month, I have seen firsthand the hard and heroic work done by American military and civilian personnel. read more>>>