News / USA

    Panetta: US Will Work With Africans to Fight al-Qaida

    US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond (L), in London on January 19, 2013.
    US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond (L), in London on January 19, 2013.
    Al Pessin
    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the United States will continue to work with Algeria and other African countries to fight terrorists. The secretary spoke in London after Algerian troops had launched a second attack against gunmen holding hostages at a natural gas facility, resulting in additional deaths.

    Information from Algeria was sketchy when Secretary Panetta and his British counterpart Phillip Hammond spoke to reporters Saturday afternoon. But Panetta said the best way to fight al-Qaida groups like the one in Algeria is to help local governments maintain control of their territory and deal with terrorist attacks when they happen.
     
    “I think it's important that as we face this enemy we have to adapt the best efforts to be able to ensure that we do this effectively, and that involves working with these countries in the region to work with us, to develop the capability of identifying where they're located and the ability to conduct operations against al-Qaida,” he said.
     
    Anti-terrorist forces can keep al-Qaida on the run, Panetta said, but no one should be complacent about the effort. He said the United States will not tolerate attacks on its territory, citizens or interests.
     
    “Since 9-11, we've made very clear that nobody is going to attack the United States of America and get away with it.”
     
    Panetta repeated that the United States will go after al-Qaida wherever it tries to hide.
     
    Secretary Hammond appeared to acknowledge that western countries were not entirely pleased with the Algerian decision to attack the compound where the hostages were held, a move that resulted in several hostage deaths. But he praised Algeria's commitment to fight terrorism.
     
    “The nature of collaboration in confronting a global threat is that we work with people sometimes who do things somewhat differently, slightly differently, from the way we would do them ourselves,” Hammond said.

    The two men also spoke about the situation in Mali. Secretary Panetta disputed a reporter's suggestion that the United States is not providing much concrete assistance to French forces that moved into the country a week ago to fight another al-Qaida affiliate.
     
    “We are, in fact, providing assistance to the French," he said. "We provided intelligence information to them to assist them in that situation. We are providing an airlift to try to assist them to be able to project more of their force into the area.”
     
    And Panetta said there are talks about further assistance, as well as more involvement by West African forces. But he and Secretary Hammond said there is no plan to deploy American or British combat forces to the region.

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    Comments
         
    by: Mr Panetta
    January 21, 2013 11:04 AM
    Please sir, dont loose sight of the plight of those vulnerable people in that Southern Africa state - you know that country,
    of that Iam sure.

    by: Frank Frank
    January 20, 2013 5:39 PM
    But the Bombs "HAVE DROPPED!!!", and the country is "UNDER ATTACK"- the only thing missing being the Flames that we're used to seeing that traditionally came with War. This is the only reason that we "almost" believe that we are not at War. PROTECT US!!!!

    by: @Mustafa from: Egypt
    January 19, 2013 3:51 PM
    hey Panetta, you helped inaugurate Al Quaeda in Egypt. Egypt, today, is the first officially recognized Al Quaeda State. America seem to be really stupid... Bush wanted "free elections" in Gaza - you got Hamas... Obama wanted "free elections" in Egypt - you got Muslim Brotherhood... "free elections" in Iraq - you got the Moqtada al-Sadr mahdi army allied to Iran!!! America is beginning to be the agents of instability in the world. I am Egyptian, I love my country, and i tell you America, before you do anything else - talk to the Israelies!!! the world is beginning to think that you couldn't be that stupid, and you actually aiding and abetting this Islamic spread of terrorist depravity...
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    January 21, 2013 12:37 PM
    I AGREE WITH YOU. YOU GOT THE FACT STRAIGHT. AMERCAN ARE SO NAIEVE REGARADING HOW TO UNDERSTAND MIDDLE EAST PERSONALITY. ONCE THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION. AMERICAN DESCRIBE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AS PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR DEMOCRACY . and allow the most notorious psychopath in the power

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