GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – US President Barack Obama promised to “finish the job” begun in Afghanistan, in a speech pronounced during a surprise visit to a US military base in the country, Wednesday morning 2 May.
The president’s speech, which takes place a year after Osama Bin Laden’s death and broadcast from Bagram Air Base to prime-time audiences in the US, stated that US troops would not be kept in dangerous circumstances “a single day longer than is absolutely required for our national security”, but he pledged to “end this war responsibly”.
Obama had met Afghan president Hamid Karzai in a secret midnight meeting in which the two men signed a long-term strategic partnership valid till 2024, which will deal with issues of internal security and development in Afghanistan.
Six months prior to US Presidential elections, Obama committed in his speech to the withdrawal of 24,000 troops from the country by the end of the summer, and to adhere to its NATO agreement to turn security over to Afghan forces by 2014. Currently, 88,000 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan.
Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for two suicide attacks Wednesday morning on guesthouses in the capital Kabul, in which at least seven people where killed.