Afghan security transition will not happen overnight: Obama

Washington: US President Barack Obama today said the planned security transition in Afghanistan will not happen overnight and America will make sure that the "hard-fought gains" are "preserved".

"I just finished signing a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan that signals the transition in which we are going to be turning over responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghans. We`re not going to do it overnight. We`re not going to do it irresponsibly. We`re going to make sure that the gains, the hard-fought gains that have been made, are preserved," Obama said in his address to American soldiers in Afghanistan at the Bagram air base soon after he signed a strategic partnership agreement with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai.

Lauding the role of US soldiers, he said, "The reason we`re able to do that is because of you. The reason that the Afghans have an opportunity for a new tomorrow is because of you. And the reason America is safe is because of you. We did not choose this war. This war came to us on 9/11, and there are a whole bunch of folks here, I`ll bet, who signed up after 9/11."

"We don`t go looking` for a fight, but when we see our homeland violated, when we see our fellow citizens killed, then we understand what we have to do.

"And because of the sacrifices now of a decade and a new greatest generation, not only were we able to blunt the Taliban momentum, not only were we able to drive al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan, but slowly and systematically we have been able to decimate the ranks of al-Qaeda. And a year ago we were able to finally bring Osama bin Laden to justice," Obama said.

The US President said when the final chapter of this war is written, historians will look back and say, not only was this the "greatest fighting force in the history of the world", but all of them also represented the values of America in an exemplary way.

"I could not be prouder of you. And I want you to understand, I know it`s still tough. I know the battle`s not yet over. Some of your buddies are going to get injured and some of your buddies may get killed. And there`s going to be heartbreak and pain and difficulty ahead. But there`s a light on the horizon because of the sacrifices you`ve made," Obama said.