President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai say in a statement that the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan is expected to shift to a support role later this spring -- a few months earlier than expected.
Obama and Karzai were speaking at a news conference Friday, after meeting at the White House on the future of the U.S. role in Afghanistan and the 66,000 American troops serving there.
The leaders say in a joint statement that the military mission will shift from combat to support in the spring. That was originally expected to take place in the summer.
They say at the time of the milestone, most unilateral U.S. combat operations should end, with U.S. forces pulling back their patrols from Afghan villages.