"Americans have learned that it's harder to end wars than it is to begin them," President Obama said today from the White House Rose Garden. "Yet this is how wars end in the 21st century." Of the 32,000 American troops left in Afghanistan, about 9,800 will remain after this year. That number will be cut in half throughout 2015, with the withdrawal of all combat troops by the end of Obama's term in 2016. (Fewer than 1,000 will stick around to provide security for the embassy in Kabul.)
"We have to recognize Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America's responsibility to make it one," said Obama. "The future of Afghanistan must be decided by Afghans."