WASHINGTON — Declaring significant progress in disrupting al-Qaida and combatting the Taliban, President Barack Obama said Thursday the United States will start withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan in July as promised. He still warned of sobering days, saying the war will remain a "very difficult endeavor."
Assessing the war one year after he ordered a major buildup of troops, Obama said the goal is not to defeat every threat to Afghanistan's security or to build up the nation. Rather, he said, the United States continues to shed blood in the war — one now in its 10th year — to dismantle the al-Qaida network and push back the Taliban.
"We are on track to achieve our goals," Obama said from the White House.