President Barack Obama met with troops at Fort Bliss, Tex. on Tuesday, hours before his national address on the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. He expressed gratitude to the troops for "a job well done," noting that 1 million U.S. troops have now served in Iraq.
"Our combat phase is now over. We are in transition," the president said, adding that work in Iraq is not complete. "The work that continues is absolutely critical: providing training and assistance to Iraqi security forces because there's still violence in Iraq, and there's still learning how to secure their country the way they need to," the president said. Some 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in the country for that task.
The president also said he'll discuss U.S. efforts in Afghanistan during his speech Tuesday night, noting a recent increase in violence in the country. The Associated Press reports that 19 U.S. troops have been killed in violence in the southern part of the country in the past three days.