US forging a partnership with Afghans: Obama
WASHINGTON (PAN): Promising an end to the longest war in the American history by 2014, President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that the US was forging a partnership with the people of Afghanistan and was training Afghan security forces.
“In Afghanistan we're training security forces and forging a partnership with the Afghan people. And by the end of 2014 the longest war in our history will be over,” Obama said at a Pentagon event marking the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
Obama explained America’s war was against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, not against Islam or any other religion. “This country was built as a beacon of freedom and tolerance. That's what's made us strong, now and forever,” he said.
Al Qaeda's leadership had been devastated, and Osama bin Laden would never threaten the US again, the president asserted, saying: “Our country is safer and our people are resilient.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned the US could go to any extent to chase terrorists. “Make no mistake: we will continue to pursue and fight our enemies wherever they go, wherever they hide, wherever they try to find refuge. We will never stop until we have made sure that America is safe.”
The US gave up the search for bin Laden unless he was killed, the secretary said, adding Al Qaeda was on the run, finding it difficult to plan and conduct another 9/11 attack. He pledged they would continue to fight the network in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa.
“Our troops denied safe haven to Al Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan, and they're fighting so that Afghanistan can secure and govern itself,” Panetta remarked.
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