Obama: Longest war in US history is ending

Obama: Longest war in US history is ending

HONOLULU - The Associated Press
Obama: Longest war in US history is ending

In this photograph taken on Dec.11 Afghan soldiers from the 2nd unit of the third brigade of the 205 Corps stand on a rural road at sunrise as he and other members of his unit cleared the road leading to their small combat outpost in southern Afghanistan. AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt

President Barack Obama said "the longest war in American history has come to a responsible conclusion."

Obama has welcomed the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. The war came to a formal end Dec. 28 with a ceremony in Kabul.

Obama said in a statement that the effort has devastated al-Qaida's core leadership, brought justice to Osama bin Laden and disrupted terrorist plots. He says U.S. troops and diplomats have helped Afghans reclaim their communities and move toward democracy.

Obama is also honoring the more than 2,200 Americans who have died in Afghanistan since the war started 13 years ago. Obama says those years have tested the U.S. and its military.

From a peak 140,000 troops in 2010, the U.S. and NATO plan to leave just 13,500 behind.