Obama hails formal end of US war in Afghanistan after 13 years

Obama hails formal end of US war in Afghanistan after 13 years

Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:2AM GMT

US President Barack Obama hails the end of a 13-year NATO mission in Afghanistan as a milestone for his country.

“The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” Obama said in a statement on Sunday, formally announcing the end of a war that claimed the lives of more than 2,200 Americans.

While on vacation in Hawaii, Obama praised the US and its allies’ troops for devastating the core of al-Qaeda leadership, killing Osama bin Laden, and disrupting terrorist plots.

“These past 13 years have tested our nation and our military,” Obama said. “But compared to the nearly 180,000 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan when I took office, we now have fewer than 15,000 in those countries. Some 90% of our troops are home.”

During the years, the conflict in Afghanistan saw 3,500 foreign soldiers die and cost the United States more than $1 trillion.

From a peak of 140,000 troops in 2010, the US and NATO will leave just 13,500 behind, almost 11,000 of which will be Americans.

The formal end to the Afghan war comes as the Taliban are still active and gaining in strength. Only in 2014, over 46,000 Afghan security forces were killed in the fight against the Taliban.

Meanwhile, the militant group has vowed to continue their fight until there is no foreign soldier on the Afghan soil.

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