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Obama Salutes Troops From bin Laden Operation

President Barack Obama addresses military personnel who have recently returned from Afghanistan, Friday, May 6, 2011, at Fort Campbell, Ky.

President Barack Obama has met behind closed doors with some of the secret special operations forces who killed Osama bin Laden. The president Friday thanked the units who carried out the operation against the leader of the al-Qaida terror network.

At the Fort Campbell Army installation in Kentucky, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden congratulated the troops involved in Sunday’s dangerous operation in Pakistan.

They held a private meeting with the Navy SEAL commandos and Army helicopter pilots on the assault team who raided Osama bin Laden’s compound and killed the al-Qaida leader.

Obama told them, "Job well done."

The president later carried the same message to hundreds of cheering soldiers at a nearby hangar. "I came here for a simple reason to say thank you on behalf of America. This has been a historic week in the life of our nation," he said.

Fort Campbell has sustained heavy losses in the nearly 10-year war in Afghanistan. Obama has drawn about 100,000 troops out of Iraq and has sent tens of thousands more into Afghanistan. He told the soldiers sending them into harm’s way was the toughest decision he made as commander-in-chief, and he did not make it lightly.

The president thanked everyone who helped to eliminate the threat posed by bin Laden. "Thanks to the incredible skill and courage of countless individuals, intelligence, military over many years, the terrorist leader who struck our nation on 9-11 will never threaten America again," he said.

Obama said the killing of Osama bin Laden was a step toward ridding the United States and the world of the threat al-Qaida poses. "Most of all, we are making progress in our major goal, our central goal in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is disrupting and dismantling, and we are going to ultimately defeat al-Qaida," he said.

The president called the killing of bin Laden one of the most successful intelligence and military operations in America’s history.

However, he pointed out that the war against al-Qaida and terrorism in general continues.