Al Qaeda in Afghanistan decimated: Obama
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Along with its allies, the US dealt Al Qaeda core and huge blows pushed back against an insurgency that threatened to overrun the country, President Barack Obama claimed on Wednesday.
Sustaining this progress depends on the ability of Afghans to do the job, the president said in his address to graduation ceremony at the West Point in New York.
“That’s why we trained hundreds of thousands of Afghan soldiers and police. Earlier this spring, those forces secured an election in which Afghans voted for the first democratic transfer of power in their history,” he said.
At the end of the current year, a new Afghan president would be in office and America’s combat mission would be over, Obama reiterated, saying the US was preparing for a troop surge in Afghanistan in 2009.
“Our counter-terrorism efforts were focused on Al Qaeda’s core leadership. And our nation was just beginning a long climb out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” he recalled.
Four and a half years later, he continued, the landscape had changed. The US was winding down the war in Afghanistan, with Al Qaeda’s leadership in the border region decimated and Osama bin Laden eliminated, he said.
Obama said the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remained terrorism. But a strategy involving invading every country that harboured terrorist networks was naïve and unsustainable, he argued.
The president believed the US must shift its counter-terrorism strategy -- drawing on the successes and shortcomings of its experience in Iraq and Afghanistan -- to more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks sought a foothold.
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