Defence Department: United States complete the operation in Afghanistan in 2013
U.S. intends to complete the military part of the operation in Afghanistan in 2013, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, RIA Novosti reported.
"I hope that by the middle or the end of 2013 we'll change military function for training, advice and assistance", Panetta said during his visit to Brussels.
"That does not mean that we won't be ready for combat operations. We will be ready, because we must always be ready to defend ourselves", the Minister added.
On the eve, U.S. President Barack Obama said that about 23 thousand U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by late summer of 2012.
"Ten thousand of our troops have already returned home. Another 23 thousand will leave Afghanistan by the end of the summer. Transfer of power to Afghan forces is being continued and we gonna build a partnership with this country that will never become the base for attack on America", Obama said, speaking in Capitol at annual address to Congress.