Voicing US’ resolve to break the Taliban’s momentum, President Barack Obama said terrorists trained in Afghanistan and the tribal regions along the Pakistani border have killed innocent civilians in the US and the UK.
Obama also said that although the fight in Afghanistan was not easy, it was “a necessary one” and expressed confidence that they had the right strategy.
“We have the right strategy. We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum. We are going to build Afghan capacity, so Afghans can take responsibility for their future. We are going to deepen regional cooperation, including with Pakistan,” Obama said at a joint news conference on Tuesday with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Cameron is on his first White House visit after assuming office in May. “This is not an easy fight, but it is a necessary one. Terrorists trained in Afghanistan and the tribal regions along the Pakistani border have killed innocent civilians in both of our countries.”
Obama also warned that an even wider insurgency in Afghanistan would mean an even larger safe haven for Al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates to plan their next attack.
“And we are not going to let that happen.”
The president also said he would begin to transfer some of the American troops from the war torn Afghanistan in July 2011.
“Over the coming years, Afghans will begin to take the lead in security and, in July of next year, we will begin to transfer some of our forces out of Afghanistan,” Obama said setting aside all speculation over the deadline of draw-down of US troops from Afghanistan beginning July 2011.
Noting that Tuesday’s historic Kabul conference is another major step forward in this regard, Obama said the Afghan government presented, and its international partners unanimously endorsed, concrete plans to implement Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s commitments to improve security, economic growth governance and the delivery of basic services.
Afghanistan, in fact, was one of the major topics of discussion when Obama met Cameron at the White House, the two leaders acknowledged at their news conference.
“We reaffirmed our commitment to the overall strategy. A key part of that is training the Afghan National Army and Police so they can provide security for their country and our troops can come home,” Cameron said.
Obama further affirmed that the US “firmly supports” the Afghan government’s peace and reconciliation plan and also heaped praise on the recently signed Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Agreement which would “increase economic opportunity for people on both sides of the border.”