President Barack Obama said today that America's war in Afghanistan will be over next year.
In his national address, President Obama said that the goal of ensuring al Qaeda will never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against America is within reach, and said the US must now focus on the task of rebuilding the country
Afghan President Hamid Karzai told an audience at Washington's Georgetown University that his country's progress over the last 10 years would not have been possible without help from the US.
He said that regardless of how individual Afghans may feel about the continuing American presence, the country was grateful for bringing an end to Taliban rule.
Karzai added, "The most recent period of the suffering of the Afghan history is behind us. A new period is beginning ... where your sons and daughters will no longer be burdened with protecting Afghanistan, where the Afghan sons and daughters will take the mantle and will move forward".
US President Barack Obama said speeding up the transition to Afghan security control would set the stage for the withdrawal of US and other foreign forces.
"Starting this spring our troops will have a different mission: training, advising and assisting Afghan forces," Obama said.
"It will be a historic moment."
Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said they have agreed to slightly accelerate the schedule for moving Afghanistan's security forces into the lead across the country, with US troops shifting fully to a support role.
The shift was previously scheduled to happen this summer.
President Obama said he would wait for recommendations from US military commanders in the coming weeks before making a decision on whether to accelerate troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.
President Obama said the US and coalition forces will move to a support role in the Afghan conflict this spring.