News / Asia

Obama: Significant Progress In Fighting al-Qaida, Taliban

Taliban fighters in an undisclosed location in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, December 13, 2010
Taliban fighters in an undisclosed location in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, December 13, 2010
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama says the U.S.-led coalition is making progress in fighting al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The president talked with reporters Thursday about his administration's annual review of its policy in the region.

President Obama says problems remain, but U.S. and NATO forces have weakened al-Qaida's leaders and stopped the Taliban's momentum.

"This continues to be a very difficult endeavor," said President Obama. "But I can report that, thanks to the extraordinary service of our troops and civilians on the ground, we are on track to achieve our goals."

The president says al-Qaida leaders in tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border are under more pressure today than at any point since they fled the region in 2001.

"Senior leaders have been killed," said Obama. "It is harder for them to recruit.  It is harder for them to travel.  It is harder for them to train.  It is harder for them to plot and launch attacks.  In short, al-Qaida is hunkered down."

Mr. Obama says progress has also been made in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.  He says this is partly due to the U.S. pulling troops out of Iraq and committing more forces to Afghanistan, where the number of American service people has risen to about 100,000.  

The president says the progress made so far will enable the U.S. to begin reducing its forces in Afghanistan as scheduled, in July, 2011.  The plan calls for Afghans to be in full charge of their country's security by the end of 2014.

"In many places, the gains we have made are still fragile and reversible," he said. "But there is no question we are clearing more areas from Taliban control, and more Afghans are reclaiming their communities."

The policy review says one of the remaining challenges is to make those gains durable and sustainable.  One obstacle has been the difficult relationship between the Obama administration and President Hamid Karzai's Afghan government, which some U.S. officials say is corrupt.

"Now, our review confirms, however, that for these security gains to be sustained over time, there is an urgent need for political and economic progress in Afghanistan," said Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama says his government has committed an increasing number of diplomats to helping Afghanistan strengthen its political and economic systems.

The president also says Pakistan needs to improve its political and economic structures, but has vastly improved its cooperation with the U.S. in eliminating al-Qaida safe havens along the border.

"Nevertheless, progress has not come fast enough," he said. "So we will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with.  At the same time, we need to support the economic and political development that is critical to Pakistan's future."

Mr. Obama emphasized that his goal is not to build a nation in Afghanistan or to eliminate every threat to that country.  He says the coalition intends to dismantle al-Qaida and push back the Taliban threat, preventing further terrorist attacks.

Related video report by Ravi Khanna:

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More