After weeks of focus on fiscal policy, President Barack Obama turned the conversation to foreign policy - and specifically the war in Afghanistan - in his weekly address on Saturday.
He spoke after meeting on Friday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
"This week, we agreed that this spring, Afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country, and our troops will shift to a support role," he said in one of his shortest weekly addresses. "In the coming months, I'll announce the next phase of our drawdown. And by the end of next year, America's war in Afghanistan will be over."
The U.S. has been in Afghanistan for over 11 years, and the two leaders' most recent meetings have been about how this chapter in history might come to a close.
He offered no additional specifics about his plan to draw down U.S. forces from the country, but in remarks after a meeting behind closed doors with Karzai at the White House on Friday, Obama said, "What's going to happen this spring is that Afghans will be in the lead throughout the country.
"That doesn't mean that coalition forces including U.S. forces are no longer fighting. They will still be fighting alongside Afghan troops," he continued. "It does mean, though, that Afghans will have taken the lead and our presence, the nature of our work will be different. We will be in a training, assisting, advising role."
Those Americans, he allowed, "will still be in harms way."
He said stability in the region requires Afghanistan and Pakistan to "come to some basic agreement and understanding about the threat of extremism to both countries and both governments."
Meanwhile, the focus of the U.S. will return to the states, he said.
"After more than a decade of war, the nation we need to rebuild is our own," Obama said.
Obama offered a salute to the "troops and veterans who fought in our name."
An estimated 2,165 Americans have died as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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