U.S. troop levels are going to start dropping in Afghanistan, bringing an end to the surge President Obama sent last year, and, eventually, the combat operations in the country.
The President laid out his plans in an address to the country Wednesday night...
He adds that it's time to focus on nation-building here at home...
It's not what they asked for but the top brass at the Pentagon says the President's plan for the Afghan withdrawal is workable.
FOX News Radio White House Correspondent Mike Majchrowitz reports on Thursday's Congressional hearings:
It didn't take long for reaction to start pouring in - most of it negative.
FOX News Radio's Rich Johnson has the latest on that from Washington...
What's reaction like in Afghanistan?
FOX's Dominic DiNatale is in Kabul...
House Speaker John Boehner released this statement after the President's address:
"Succeeding in Afghanistan - and preventing al Qaeda and the Taliban from using the country as a safe haven from which to launch attacks on the U.S. and our allies - is critically important to the safety and security of our country. While the conditions remain difficult, the counterinsurgency strategy implemented by General Petraeus has made significant improvements in security on the ground and allowed the Afghan government to start making progress in meeting the needs of the Afghan people. We all want to bring our troops home as quickly as possible, but we must ensure that the gains we've made are not jeopardized.
"I am pleased the President recognizes that success in Afghanistan is paramount. Continuing to degrade al Qaeda's capabilities in Afghanistan and the surrounding region must remain a top take priority over any calendar dates. It's important that we retain the flexibility necessary to reconsider troop levels and respond to changes in the security environment should circumstances on the ground warrant. It is my hope that the President will continue to listen to our commanders on the ground as we move forward. Congress will hold the Administration accountable for ensuring that the pace and scope of the drawdown does not undermine the progress we've made thus far.
"There is no doubt this conflict has tested the resolve of our nation, and I want to express gratitude to the American people for their faithful commitment to our troops and their mission. As this operation enters its next phase, it is imperative that our Commander-in-Chief continues to explain why seeing it through to a successful conclusion is vital to our national interests. Lastly, I want to reiterate how much we appreciate the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform, our diplomats, and their families are making every day. We can never forget their service to our country"
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi adds:
"Tonight, President Obama made it clear: we are now beginning the process of bringing our troops home and ending the war in Afghanistan.
"It has been the hope of many in Congress and across the country that the full drawdown of U.S. forces would happen sooner than the President laid out - and we will continue to press for a better outcome. Concluding this war will enable us to reduce the deficit and focus fuller attention on the priorities of the American people: creating jobs and investing in our nation's future by building a strong, thriving economy for our children.
"Congress will continue to perform the oversight responsibilities critical to ensuring a successful withdrawal as soon as possible. We will maintain our commitment and gratitude to our men and women in uniform and their families, who have done everything asked of them with courage and patriotism."
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had this to say:
"Over the past 18 months our troops have made tremendous progress degrading the capability of the Taliban while enhancing the Afghan security forces. It is critical that we continue to aggressively prosecute that strategy. I support the President's decision because it provides our commanders with enough resources, time and, perhaps most importantly, flexibility to bring the surge to a successful conclusion."