Obama, Karzai Speed Up Withdrawal

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty

President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai speak to the media during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on January 11, 2013.

This is certainly an optimistic start to the new year. President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Friday that they had agreed to a slightly sped-up withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan—although Karzai declined to say how many U.S. troops will be left behind after the 2014 deadline. “Starting this spring our troops will have a different mission—training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces,” Obama said at a joint press conference. In a joint statement, the two said the Afghan Army is “exceeding initial exceptions” and the Afghan forces will be in a combat role throughout the country by this spring.