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Troop drawdown on schedule: White House

Troop drawdown on schedule: White House

May 04, 2011 - 12:15

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): Ruling out any change in its Af-Pak policy after Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death, the White House has said a drawdown of American troops from Afghanistaninfo-icon remains on track.

"I think the president's plan is on track," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at a news conference on Tuesday. "You can see the operation that took place on Sunday within the context of this plan that the president put in place for Afghanistan and Pakistaninfo-icon."

The raid was also within the context of President Barack Obama's broader commitment to refocusing US attention on the region, home to what they call Al Qaeda central and home to the organisation's leader until very recently, he added.

Obama was determined to refocus America's attention on that region, on Al Qaeda, Carney noted, saying that under a plan that the president put forward for Afghanistan, the number one objective was to dismantle and eventually defeat the terror network. 

"Getting bin Laden was very much a part of that plan, but it is not the only part," he said. "We are continuing the fight against Al Qaeda every day.  And the focus of that operation of the US personnel in Afghanistan is on Al Qaeda.  The operation continues."

He reiterated the July 2011 transition date for the beginning of a drawdown remained very much in place.  The pace of that drawdown would be determined by conditions on the ground, Carney explained.

The White House spokesman said Obama would continue to make the argument that US needed to remain vigilant and take the fight to Al Qaeda. "There is no question the case has to continue to be made, but we're under no illusion that killing bin Laden removes the threat entirely." 

He called bin laden an important symbolic figure, saying other Al Qaeda leaders might be reevaluating their safety and security as a result of what occurred on Sunday, because they would be hunted down, too. 


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