"I don't think that there is ever going to be an optimal point where we say, this is all done, this is perfect, this is just the way we wanted it and now we can wrap up all our equipment and go home," Obama said at a press conference at the end of a two-day NATO summit in his hometown of Chicago.
President Obama expressed what he feel will be risks by withdrawing troops by the end of 2014. He continued by saying, "I should add, by the way, that the danger a lot of times is not that anybody is purposely trying to downplay challenges in Afghanistan.
The alliance agreed with the 2014 withdrawal date, and voted to hand Afghan forces the lead in combat operations starting in mid-2013. Building up the country's military and police are imperative to the NATO led International Security Assistance Force's planned draw down. "We leave Chicago with a clear roadmap," the president said. "Our coalition is committed to this plan to bring our war in Afghanistan to a responsible end."
This past Sunday top commander in Afghanistan John Allen said U.S. troops will still be in combat, but not in the lead until they depart by the end of 2014. The U.S. is on track to reduce its presence to 68,000 troops by late September. More than 3,000 Americans have been killed in the decade-long conflict launched to catch or kill Osama bin Laden, whom Navy SEALS shot dead in a dramatic May 2011 raid inside Pakistan.
"We leave Chicago with a clear roadmap," the president said. "Our coalition is committed to this plan to bring our war in Afghanistan to a responsible end."