Al Qaeda weakened but threat remains: Clinton
WASHINGTON (PAN): Considerably weakened because of the strong steps taken over the past few years, the Al Qaeda network continues to pose a real threat to the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
"While we have significantly weakened Al Qaeda's core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, today we are reminded that they can still conduct regional and international attacks and inspire others to do so," Clinton said in a speech in New York on Friday.
As it pursues its campaign on various fronts against the group, the US will always maintain its right to use force against such outfits as Al Qaeda that have attacked America and still threaten it with imminent violence, she added.
"In doing so, we will stay true to our values and respect the rule of law - including international principles guiding the use of force in self-defence, respect for the sovereignty of other states and the laws of armed conflict," she said.
"When we capture Al Qaeda members, we detain them humanely and consistent with international standards. And when we do strike, we seek to protect innocent civilians from harm. Terrorists, of course, do the opposite," Clinton remarked.
The secretary said the threat had become more geographically diverse, with much of Al Qaeda activity devolving to its affiliates around the world. She once again described the organization as a syndicate of terror, not a monolith.
The death of Osama bin Laden has put Al Qaeda on the path to defeat, she claimed. And as President Barack Obama has pledged, the US will not relent until the job is done, she said.
"Earlier this summer, the president released his National Strategy for Counterterrorism, which makes clear that we face both a short-and long-term challenge," she said.
"First, to keep up the pressure on Al Qaeda and its network; second, to face down the murderous ideology that fueled bin Laden's rise and that continues to incite violence around the world."
"To meet the challenges, our methods must match this unique moment. And we need to apply the hard-learned lessons of recent years," Clinton said.
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