Hagel said, „In Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the United States will pursue two missions with the support of the Afghan government and the Afghan people.“
„Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,“ he said.
In the transition ceremony in Kabul on Sunday, at which the green-and-white flag of the International Security Assistance Force was furled, Campbell unfurled what he called the „Resolute Support colors.“
In his statement on Sunday, Obama said that the ceremony in Kabul „marks a milestone for our country. For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan.
In emails, Campbell’s spokesman later said that Resolute Support would apply to the overall NATO continuing mission in Afghanistan while Freedom’s Sentinel was the U.S. mission in coordination with Resolute Support.
The U.S. initially planned to have 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through next year but Campbell asked for an additional 1,000 U.S. troops until NATO partners fulfill their commitments to build the force to about 13,500. The Pentagon has approved Campbell’s request.
That still left the problem of distinguishing between the Pentagon name Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the NATO term Operation Resolute Support.
The new U.S. military mission in Afghanistan has begun and will be called Operation Freedom’s Sentinel — once some initial confusion about the apostrophe was cleared up.
„At the invitation of the Afghan government, and to preserve the gains we have made together, the United States — along with our allies and partners — will maintain a limited military presence in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist Afghan forces and to conduct counter-terrorism operations against the remnants of Al Qaeda,“ Obama said.