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Pakistan beginning to take on terrorists: Obama

world Updated: Aug 03, 2010 18:44 IST
Arun Kumar

Claiming progress in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama says major blows have been struck against Al Qaeda and its leadership with Pakistan beginning to "take the fight to violent extremists within its borders".

"We face huge challenges in Afghanistan," he told the national convention of Disabled American Veterans in Atlanta, Georgia, Monday.

"But it's important that the American people know that we are making progress and we're focused on goals that are clear and achievable."

Defending his decision to increase US military commitment in Afghanistan, Obama said the military has now gone on the offensive against extremist elements.

"If Afghanistan were to be engulfed by an even wider insurgency, Al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates would have even more space to plan their next attack.

"As president of the United States, I refuse to let that happen," he said.

The Pakistan government has begun to "take the fight to violent extremists within its borders. Major blows have been struck against Al Qaeda and its leadership", Obama said.

"So I want to remind everyone, it was Afghanistan where Al Qaeda plotted and trained to murder 3,000 innocent people on 9/11," he said.

"It is Afghanistan and the tribal regions of Pakistan where terrorists have launched other attacks against us and our allies."

Obama said he had announced a new strategy last December as the effort in Afghanistan has been long and difficult.

The strategy included "a military effort to break the Taliban's momentum and train Afghan forces so that they can take the lead for their security", he said.

"Deeper cooperation with Pakistan to root out terrorists on both sides of the border" was another key component of the strategy.

With nearly all the additional forces that he ordered to Afghanistan now in place, "we are going on the offensive against the Taliban-targeting their leaders, challenging them in regions where they had free reign, and training Afghan national security forces", he said.