Afghan security transition on track: Panetta
WASHINGTON (PAN): Al-Qaeda’s leadership, including Osama bin Laden, has been decimated, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Friday, insisting the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed showed the Afghan transition plan was on track.
“The Taliban have been weakened, their momentum has been broken. Al-Qaeda’s leadership – including bin Laden – has been decimated. The Afghan National Security Forces have been growing steadily and they are more and more capable of securing their country,” Panetta said.
Iin his remark at Fort Benning in Georgia, he said: "The Strategic Partnership Agreement that President Obama signed in Kabul this week affirmed that this transition plan is on track.” It sent a clear signal to the enemies that the US would finish the job right in Afghanistan, he added.
“We have an enduring commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan people. If we keep our eyes focused on this mission, as I know you will, we will defeat Al-Qaeda and deny them the ability to rebuild. Too much precious blood has been spilt and too much progress has been made to lose sight of the mission now,” Panetta remarked.
Acknowledging that there would be considerable challenges ahead, he said the US and its partners faced a determined adversary in Afghanistan and they still faced violent extremists who wanted to attack America.
“The reality is that our enemies are losing on the battlefield and they will seek any opportunity to damage us. In particular, they have sought to take advantage of a series of troubling incidents involving misconduct on the part of American troops,” Panetta concluded.
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