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More importantly, many of those who supported America’s intervention think the U.S. has not fulfilled what they perceived was a promise to leave Afghanistan a safe and economically stable country.

“America decided to come to Afghanistan, they decided to stay in Afghanistan, and now they are about to make the other decision to leave Afghanistan,” said military analyst Abdul Hadi Khalid, a former deputy interior minister. “Unfortunately, they are leaving us with many challenges.”

He said the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 but since have reasserted control of large swaths of the country. Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, also is mired in corruption.

“The promises were that they will struggle and defeat terrorism and extremism and also help Afghanistan. But unfortunately they have not defeated terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan or the region, and now they are leaving us with more problems,” Mr. Khalid said.

Mohammad Nahim, a 45-year-old Kabul restaurant owner, recalled the civil war that followed in the years after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, and he said he was worried history would be repeated.

“If all the troops leave, the future of the country is dark,” Mr. Nahim said.

“I don’t believe Afghan forces can keep security. … There is still fighting in the provinces.”

Confusion over Mr. Obama’s claim that the war is over reflects what Afghans perceive as America’s changing goals in the war, which has claimed the lives of 2,045 U.S. military personnel.

It invaded after the Sept. 11 attacks to get rid of al Qaeda and the Taliban — which it did with the support of many Afghans. But in the following years, when attention and military might was redirected to Iraq, the Taliban came back.

In late 2009, Mr. Obama sent tens of thousands of reinforcements to deal with the resurgence. By mid-2010, the United States had more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. At the time, the U.S. was also spending billions of dollars on a costly counterinsurgency strategy that had all the hallmarks of nation-building.

In some of the country’s eastern provinces, where coalition forces have been fighting a resurgent Taliban with mixed success, Afghans expressed concern.

Aziza Maisam, a member of the provincial council in Ghazni province, said she feared for women if the repressive Taliban should make a comeback.

“The situation is bad and insecure in Ghazni province. It is a premature decision by Obama to withdraw the troops,” she said. “The fighting is not over, as President Obama said.”

• Associated Press writers Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez contributed to this article.