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Have put Al Qaeda on the path to defeat: Obama

world Updated: May 23, 2012 23:16 IST
PTI
Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that his administration has put the al Qaeda on the path to defeat and is ending the wars in a way that makes America safer and stronger.


"We've put al Qaeda on the path to defeat," Obama said in his commencement address to the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

"And you are the first graduates since 9/11 who can see clearly how we'll end the war in Afghanistan," he said.

"Four years ago, you arrived here at a time of great challenge for our nation. Our forces were engaged in two wars. Al Qaeda, which had attacked us on 9/11, was entrenched in their safe-havens," he said.

"Many of our alliances were strained, and our standing in the world had suffered. Our economy was in the worst recession since the Great Depression. Around the world and here at home, many questioned whether the United States still had the capacity for global leadership," Obama said.

"Today, you step forward into a different world........ where there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.

"For the first time in your lives—and thanks to Air Force personnel who did their part —- Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to our country," said the US President.

Obama said four years ago there were some 180,000 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Now, we've cut that number by more than half. And as more Afghans step up, more of our troops will come home—while achieving the objective that led us to war in the first place: defeating al Qaeda, and denying them a safe-haven.

"So we aren't just ending these wars, we’re doing so in a way that makes us safer, and stronger," Obama said.

"For a decade, we have laboured under the dark cloud of war. Now, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The end of these wars will shape your service and it will make our military stronger," he said.

"Ending these wars will also ensure that the burden of our security no longer falls so heavily on the shoulders of our men and women in uniform.

"You can’t be expected to do it alone. There are many sources of American power—diplomatic, economic, development and the power of our ideals. We need to be using them all. And today, we are," he said.