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Obama lauds end of Afghanistan mission

(Agencies) Updated: 2014-12-26 13:57

Obama lauds end of Afghanistan mission

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (R) greet US military personnel at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Christmas Day in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii December 25, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

KANOEHE BAY, Hawaii - One week before the US combat mission in Afghanistan draws to a close, President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, thanked American troops on Thursday during a Christmas Day visit to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kanoehe Bay.

One man in the crowd yelled "Huah!", a traditional cheer of the US military, and the audience applauded as Obama spoke of the United States officially ending its fighting role in Afghanistan after 13 years of conflict.

The Taliban were ousted by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001, following the Sept 11 attacks on America by Islamist militants using hijacked airliners, and the United States has kept a military presence there ever since.

With the end of the NATO-led combat mission in Afghanistan, the Obama administration said earlier this month it would leave a residual US force of about 10,800 troops behind for at least the first few months of 2015 to help provide support to Afghan security forces.

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