US President Barack Obama on Friday honored all those killed since US warplanes launched a campaign to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan 10 years ago, and saluted those who have served in the US military.
Obama said in a statement the United States was "responsibly ending" the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq "from a position of strength" and promised to provide veterans with healthcare and job opportunities.
The President also said the United States was "closer than ever to defeating al Qaeda and its murderous network" after the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and "delivering justice" to other al Qaeda figures.
"Ten years ago today, in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, our nation went to war against al Qaeda and its Taliban protectors in Afghanistan," Obama said, calling it a "decade of sacrifice."
He saluted "the more than half a million men and women who have served bravely in Afghanistan to keep our country safe, including our resilient wounded warriors who carry the scars of war, seen and unseen."
"We honor the memory of the nearly 1,800 American patriots, and many coalition and Afghan partners, who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan for our shared security and freedom," the US president added.
Obama also thanked the diplomats, law enforcement officers and homeland security officials who have served since the war in Afghanistan began in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror strikes on New York and Washington.
"Thanks to the extraordinary service of these Americans, our citizens are safer and our nation is more secure," he said.
Obama said the United States was "responsibly ending today's wars from a position of strength" though he warned that "enormous challenges" remained in Afghanistan.
"In Afghanistan and beyond, we have shown that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam and that we are a partner with those who seek justice, dignity and opportunity," he said.