Obama: ‘There’s No Reason Why Americans Should Die’ When Afghans Can Defend

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President Barack Obama debates with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University on Oct. 22, 2012 in Boca Raton, Fla. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama debates with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University on Oct. 22, 2012 in Boca Raton, Fla. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBSDC/AP) — President Obama declared during Monday night’s final presidential debate that the war in Afghanistan should end in 2014.

The president says that troops need to transition out of the war-torn country because the United States has already met many of its objectives in Afghanistan.

“We went because there were people who were responsible for 3,000 American deaths. And so we decimated Al Qaeda’s core leadership in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Obama said. “We then started to build up Afghan forces, and we’re now in a position where we can transition out, because there’s no reason why Americans should die when Afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country.”

Fourteen American troops have died in Afghanistan so far this month and 277 this year.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is backing Obama’s plan to pull American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Romney says the Afghan troop surge that Obama ordered has been successful and a training program for Afghan forces is on track. As a result, he says the U.S. will be able to make a transition at the end of 2014 and make sure U.S. troops come home.

The Republican nominee has previously criticized Obama for setting a timeline for ending the war.

Obama tripled the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan upon taking office. He has said the U.S. will maintain a civilian presence in Afghanistan after its military operations end.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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