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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid