Transcript for Obama, Hamid Karzai Announce Early End to US Combat Operations
And we turn next to the white house and something new in america, almost 12-year war coming to a close. Tonight, 66,000 americans still fighting in afghanistan and the president indicated today they could be coming home even sooner than we thought. He said it with the leader of afghanistan standing there with him. Our chief white house correspo jonathan karl. Reporter: President obama declared america's longest war will soon be over. Afghans are stepping up and taking responsibility for their own security. As they do, our troops will come home. And next year this long war will come to a responsible end. Reporter: But that end will depend in large part on the man at the president's side, afghanistan's president karzai, a man who survived at least five asan nation taemts but also accused of corruption and incompetence. Today they were cordial but not exactly warm and no wonder, it's a tense relationship. Karzai recently accused the u.S. Of causing instability in his country. He has said of pakistan and in the u.S. Went to war he would side with pakistan and once threatened to join the taliban. Another complicating factor the increasing attacks of afghan soldiers on u.S. And nato troops, some 45 attacks last year killing 35 americans. But president obama said today that by this spring, u.S. Forces will no longer be taking the lead in 90% of afghanistan. A quicker transition than had been planned. That will be the beginning of the end to a war that has cost more than 2,000 american lives. The white house says one reason to push for a quicker drawdown in afghanistan is cost. Even now we are spending $5 billion a month, that is $167 million every day in afghanistan. Today, the president said the war he once called a necessity has been worth it. At the end of this conflict, we are going to be able to say that the sacrifices that were made by those men and women in uniform has brought about the goal that we sought. Reporter: By the end of next year the white house hopes to go from those 66,000 troops now in afghanistan to fewer than 10,000. And diane, they are even considering a so-called zero option which would be taking all u.S. Troops out of afghanistan by the end of next year just as they did in iraq. All right. Jonathan karl reporting from the white house. Thank you.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.