WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama thanked troops and veterans of the U.S. armed forces Saturday in a brief YouTube message posted by the Department of Defense.
"For more than a decade of war, you have borne the burden of our security," the president said in the video, which lasted under two minutes and touched on a range of security issues.
He noted "two important milestones" this week in Afghanistan: a bilateral security agreement permitting 9,800 U.S. troops to remain in the country beyond 2014, and the swearing-in of Ashraf Ghani as the nation's first democratically-elected president.
"In other words, in just two months, the transition will be complete, our combat mission will be over, and our war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end. And with this new security agreement, we'll help preserve the gains you have won. This progress was possible because of your courageous service and the sacrifice of more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in Afghanistan and who we will honor forever."
The president said that work continues, mentioning ongoing strikes against the so-called Islamic State as well as troop deployments to Africa in response to the Ebola epidemic.
"Once again, you are showing the world the best of American leadership," he said, before issuing thanks on behalf of America. "We'll keep working to take care of you and your families, just like you've always taken care of us."