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Panetta Says US to End Afghan Combat Operations by 2013

Camp Pendleton Marines in Afghanistan

Above: Camp Pendleton Marines in Afghanistan

Home Post Blog: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters today the United States is looking to end combat operations in Afghanistan by the second half of next year. The Washington Post reports Panetta’s statements are the first time someone from the Obama administration has indicated it would be possible for the U.S. and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to transition out of a combat role and into one of support and training in Afghanistan in 2013.

Panetta said to reporters:

“It’s still a pretty robust role that we’ll be engaged in. It’s not going to be a kind of formal combat role that we are now. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be combat ready. We will be because we always have to be in order to defend ourselves.”

ISAF has a fixed deadline of 2014 for ending the war in Afghanistan, according to the Washington Post. And Panetta says both United States and ISAF troops will remain in the country at least until that deadline. (Read More)

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