Address to the Nation on Military Operations in Afghanistan From Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, May 2, 2012 [open pdf - 136KB]
"Good evening from Bagram Air Base. This outpost is more than 7,000 miles from home, but for over a decade, it's been close to our hearts. Because here in Afghanistan, more than half a million of our sons and daughters have sacrificed to protect our country. Today I signed a historic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that defines a new kind of relationship between our countries, a future in which Afghans are responsible for the security of their nation and we build an equal partnership between two sovereign states, a future in which war ends and a new chapter begins. Tonight I'd like to speak to you about this transition. But first, let us remember why we came here. It was here, in Afghanistan, where Usama bin Laden established a safe haven for his terrorist organization. It was here, in Afghanistan, where Al Qaida brought new recruits, trained them, and plotted acts of terror. It was here, from within these borders, that Al Qaida launched the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent men, women, and children. And so 10 years ago, the United States and our allies went to war to make sure that Al Qaida could never again use this country to launch attacks against us. Despite initial success, for a number of reasons, this war has taken longer than most anticipated. In 2002, bin Laden and his lieutenants escaped across the border and established safe haven in Pakistan. America spent nearly 8 years fighting a different war in Iraq. And Al Qaida's extremist allies within the Taliban have waged a brutal insurgency. But over the last 3 years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban's momentum. We built strong Afghan security forces. We devastated Al Qaida's leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders. And 1 year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Usama bin Laden. The goal that I set to defeat Al Qaida and deny it a chance to rebuild is now within our reach."
Compilation of Presidential Documents: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=CPD
Daily Comp. Pres. Docs., 2012 DCPD No. 00336