(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday that the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan will not be done "precipitously."
It will be done in a steady way to ensure recent gains "will be sustained," he said.
"Areas like Kandahar are more secure than they've been in years," Obama said during a visit to Fort Drum, New York.
The U.S. military and its allies are "taking the fight" to the Taliban, he said. As a result, there are signs the Taliban are more interested in a political settlement.
As for al Qaeda, we have "decimated their ranks," he said. But "our job is not finished."
"Your commander in chief has your back," he said.