WASHINGTON -- With the war in Afghanistan winding down after 11 years, President Barack Obama says the time is right for U.S. forces to let Afghans do their own fighting.

In his radio and Internet address Saturday, Obama says U.S. forces will shift to a support role as Afghan soldiers take the lead in defending their country.

Obama met Friday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House and agreed that U.S. troops will go home in larger numbers starting this spring – several months ahead of schedule. He says "America's war in Afghanistan will be over" by the end of 2014.

In the Republican address, freshman Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska says that with the "fiscal cliff" averted, Congress and the president must focus on cutting "out-of-control" government spending.



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  • Osama Bin Laden - May 1, 2012.

    This April 1998 file photo shows exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. He was killed during a raid of his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by US forces. (AP Photo, File)

  • Ilyas Kashmiri - June 2, 2011

    Kashmiri was Al-Qaida's military operations chief in Pakistan. He was killed in a drone strike close to the town of Wana in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal area. He was one of five most-wanted militant leaders in the country, accused of a string of bloody attacks in Pakistan and India as well as aiding plots in the West. (Saeed Khan/AFP-Getty Images, file)

  • Atiyah Abd al-Rahman - August 22, 2011.

    Al-Qaida's second in command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, was killed in a drone strike in Machi Khel village in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area. A Libyan national, al-Rahman never had the worldwide name recognition of Osama bin Laden or bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, but al-Rahman was regarded as an instrumental figure in the terrorist organization, trusted by bin Laden to oversee al-Qaida's daily operations. (AP Photo/National Counterterrorism Center)

  • Abu Hafs Al-Shahri - Sept. 11, 2011.

    Al-Qaida's chief of operations in Pakistan, Abu Hafs al-Shahri, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region. Al-Shahri worked closely with the Pakistani Taliban to carry out attacks inside Pakistan. (SITE Intel Group)

  • Anwar al-Awlaki - Sept. 30, 2011.

    In this Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, file photo, Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites. He was a key member of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and was killed in a drone strike in the mountains of Yemen. The 40-year-old American-Yemeni cleric emerged as an enormously influential preacher among militants living in the West, with his English-language Internet sermons calling for jihad, or holy war, against the United States. He was in contact with the accused perpetrators of the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 13 people, the 2010 car bomb attempt in New York's Times Square and the Christmas 2009 attempt to blow up an airliner heading to Detroit (AP Photo/SITE Intelligence Group, Dile)

  • Badr Mansoor - Feb. 9, 2012

    Al-Qaida commander Badr Mansoor was killed in a drone strike in Miran Shah, the main town in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area. He was believed to be behind many of the suicide attacks that killed scores of Pakistani civilians in recent years. Mansoor was from Pakistan's largest province, Punjab, and moved to North Waziristan in 2008, where he led a faction of more than 200 fighters. (AFP/Getty Images)

  • Abu Yahia al-Libi - June 4, 2012.

    This March 25, 2007, file image, made from video posted on a website frequented by Islamist militants and provided via the IntelCenter, shows Al-Qaida's second in command Abu Yahya al-Libi. He was killed in a drone strike in the Pakistani village of Khassu Khel in the North Waziristan tribal area, according to the White House. Al-Libi was considered a charismatic, media-savvy leader who helped preside over the transformation of al-Qaida into a terror movement aimed at winning converts around the world. (AP Photo/IntelCenter, File)