Soldiers welcome President Obama's news


June 21, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
Many soldiers are welcoming President Barack Obama's news of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, but others say their mission is far from over.

In an address to the country Wednesday evening, President Obama announced 33,000 troops will withdraw next year and by 2014, Afghanistan will be responsible for its own security.

"We owe our brave troops a strategy that both finishes the job and honors their sacrifice," Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan said in response to the announcement. "Yet there is a shortsighted focus among some in Congress on immediate steps when what is needed is flexibility and a clear eye on the end game. Our combat troops should leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. This will create a sense of urgency within the Afghan government to get its act together."

Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr is hopeful about handing over security.

"I am hopeful that the plan announced by the President tonight achieves the appropriate balance between building on the progress that American forces have made in Afghanistan, ensuring stability in the region -- particularly in Pakistan -- and handing over security to the Afghan people."

The mission will move from combat to support.

Fort Bragg soldier Ronnie Daniels says it's news he is celebrating.

"I think it's well past due for us to come home," Daniels said. "It's basically us fighting Osama bin Laden, he's gone. There's no need for us to be there anymore."

Newly enlisted soldier Trevor Staton says he's hopeful as well.

"I think it's good they'll be back with their families," he said. "They've been over there for a while, happy to come home."

But the war in Afghanistan doesn't end now. Tens of thousands of troops will be left behind after the temporary surge of armed service men and women are welcomed home. Many will continue to work to stabilize the war torn country.

Private First Class Joshua Gilliand hopes the withdrawal doesn't send the wrong message.

"I'm happy that we get our friends and our family back, and I'm sure their family is happy to see them, but I don't what the terrorists to see that as a sign of weakness, that they're winning," Gilliand added.

As troops come home, people in America and Afghanistan pray for peace.

"American troops, including almost 20,000 men and women from North Carolina, are disrupting, dismantling and defeating terrorism in Afghanistan," Senator Hagan said. "We cannot throw away the significant gains they have fought so hard to achieve. What remains of al Qaeda is hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border. We must take the opportunity to bury them there once and for all."

It is not known how many soldiers from Fort Bragg will return home within the next year.

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