Hundreds of U.S. troops based in Afghanistan gather to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attack on the United States. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Hundreds of U.S. troops gathered at the Bagram air base on Thursday (September 11) to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attack on United States. Troops sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic, took a moment of silence and brought down the U.S. flag to mark 13 years since al Qaeda's attack on the U.S., which took the lives of nearly 3000 people. The commander of U.S. joint task forces at Bagram air base, the biggest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan, said that the memory of the event would live on. "We have been here because of those event 13 years ago. We are here to ensure the terrorists will never again be able to use Afghanistan to attack the rest of the world. For all of us the events of September 11 will forever live in our memories," Major General J Townsend said. Another U.S. soldier and former U.S. fire-fighter who was an eyewitness to the attacks on the U.S. said he wanted people at home to realize how hard the troops worked. "It's important for the American people to know how hard these service members are working and how much these services members pay. Their families pay, they pay, and in some cases they pay forever," Daniel Glembot said. U.S. President Barack Obama has outlined a plan to withdraw all but 9,800 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and pull out the rest by the end of 2016, ending more than a decade of military engagement triggered by the September 11 attacks on the United States. The decision means that Obama will leave office in early 2017 having extricated the country from the longest war in U.S. history. He ended Washington's combat presence in Iraq in 2011. Under his plan, 9,800 U.S. troops would remain behind into next year. By the end of 2015, that number would be reduced by roughly half. By the end of 2016, the U.S. presence would be cut to a normal embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as was done in Iraq. The 9,800 troops would take an advisory role backing up Afghan forces. They would train Afghan troops and help guide missions to root out remaining al Qaeda targets. Any U.S. military presence beyond 2014 is contingent on Afghanistan's government signing a bilateral security agreement with the United States.