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Dec 28, 2:01 PM EST

Obama: Longest war in US history is ending


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HONOLULU (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.

Obama is welcoming the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. The war came to a formal end Sunday with a ceremony in Kabul.

Obama says in a statement that the effort has devastated al-Qaida's core leadership, brought justice to Osama bin Laden and disrupted terrorist plots. He says U.S. troops and diplomats have helped Afghans reclaim their communities and move toward democracy.

Obama is also honoring the more than 2,200 Americans who have died in Afghanistan since the war started 13 years ago. Obama says those years have tested the U.S. and its military.

From a peak 140,000 troops in 2010, the U.S. and NATO plan to leave just 13,500 behind.

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