BAGRAM AIR BASE - President Barack Obama said Wednesday a ‘time of war’ was ending in a moment of US renewal, after slipping into Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death.In a highly political election-year address from outside Kabul, Obama posed as a commander-in-chief who ended two long wars and crushed Al-Qaeda, and tried to conjure up a new dawn for a nation exhausted by conflict and recession.“This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end,” Obama said, recalling a decade-long “dark cloud of war”, as America fell into an Afghan morass after bin Laden plotted the September 11 attacks in 2001.“Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon,” said Obama.“We look forward to a future of peace. We’re agreeing to be long-term partners,” said the president, who later headed home aboard Air Force One after just six hours on the ground.About two hours after his departure, Afghan police said a suicide car bomb detonated in an area of Kabul close to several foreign military bases, prompting the US embassy to warn staff to take cover and go into lockdown.“It is time to renew America,” Obama said. “A united America of grit and resilience, where sunlight glistens off soaring new towers in downtown Manhattan, and we build our future as one people, as one nation.”“I have made it clear to Afghanistan’s neighbour Pakistan that it can and should be an equal partner in this process in a way that respects sovereignty, interests and democratic institutions. In pursuit of a durable peace, America has no designs beyond an end to al-Qaeda safe-havens, and respect for Afghan sovereignty,” Obama said.Though he sought to put a capstone on the war, Obama’s statement effectively meant that US troops could be fighting for two more years, and some could remain in danger for a decade after that.Obama bluntly told US soldiers that “some of your buddies are going to get injured, some of your buddies may get killed”.“There is going to be heartbreak and pain and difficulty ahead, but there is a light on the horizon because of the sacrifices you have made.”Obama told Americans the goal of defeating the Qaeda network was within reach. He said: “The goal that I set to defeat Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild is now within our reach.”He also issued a new plea to Taliban insurgents to break with the terror network, responsible for the 2001 attacks on the United States, and push forward with reconciliation talks.“In coordination with the Afghan government my administration has been in direct discussions with the Taliban,” Obama said.“We made it clear they can be a part of the future if they break with Al-Qaeda and abide by Afghan laws. Many members have indicated an interest in reconciliation.“The path to peace is now set before them. Those who refuse to walk it will face strong Afghan security forces backed by US and our allies.”Speaking at the signing ceremony with Obama, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the strategic pact he signed overnight with President Obama would pose no threat to neighbouring countries.