US mission in Afghanistan to shift to support role

No word on pace of drawdown

WASHINGTON -  

Within a few months, U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be shifting to a support role, letting Afghanistan's own troops take the lead in providing for the security of their country.

The accelerated timetable was announced Friday by President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai after a meeting at the White House.

Obama said the faster transition to Afghan security control will set the stage for further withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign forces. But he didn't say how quickly a U.S. drawdown will be carried out this year and next.

He says plans remain on schedule for having Afghan forces fully responsible for security nationwide by the end of next year.

In a statement, the leaders said they had discussed the possibility of a continued U.S. troop presence beyond then, but they didn't settle on any specifics.

The leaders also said Obama has agreed to place detainees who are captured on the battlefield under the control of the Afghan government. 

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