State sponsors of terrorism will be held accountable: Bush

December 10th, 2008 - 12:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 10 (IANS) Noting the serious challenges posed by terrorists as highlighted by the Mumbai attacks, US President George W. Bush has warned state sponsors of terrorism that they will be held as accountable as the terrorists.”For many years, America treated terrorist attacks as isolated incidents and responded with limited measures,” Bush said, discussing defence transformation at the United States military academy West Point, New York.

But the US changed its strategy after the Sep 11, 2001 terror attacks and within weeks “our armed forces began taking the fight to the terrorists around the world and we have not stopped”, Bush said.

“We have made clear that governments that sponsor terror are as guilty as the terrorists and will be held to account,” he said, noting that after 9/11, US applied the doctrine to Afghanistan and removed the Taliban from power.

However, “the terrorists continue to pose serious challenges, as the world saw in the terrible attack in Mumbai last month”, he said.

One of the most important challenges US will face in the years ahead is helping its partners assert control over ungoverned spaces, Bush said, noting: “This problem is most pronounced in Pakistan, where areas along the Afghanistan border are home to Taliban and to Al Qaeda fighters.”

“The Pakistani government and people understand the threat because they have been victims of terror themselves,” he said. “They’re working to enforce the law and fight terror in the border areas.”

On its part, the US government is providing strong support for these efforts. “And at the same time, we have made it clear to Pakistan and to all our partners that we will do what is necessary to protect American troops and the American people.”

The US has also helped key partners and allies strengthen their capabilities in the fight against the terrorists, he said. “We’ve increased intelligence-sharing with friends and allies around the world.”

“The enemy is determined, the terrain is harsh, and the battle is difficult. But our coalition will stay in this fight,” he said. But “we will not let the Taliban or Al Qaeda return to power. And Afghanistan will never again be a safe haven for terrorists”.

America also recognised the only way to defeat the terrorists in the long run is to present an alternative to their hateful ideology, Bush said. “So when we overthrew the dictators in Afghanistan and Iraq, we refused to take the easy option and install friendly strongmen in their place.”

“The results of these efforts are unfolding slowly and unevenly, but there are encouraging signs. From Iraq and Afghanistan to Lebanon and Pakistan, voters defied the terrorists to cast their ballots in free elections,” he said.

People want to live in freedom, Bush said noting “Muslims from Jordan and Turkey to India and Indonesia have seen their brothers and sisters massacred, and recoiled from the terrorists”.

“From the Horn of Africa to the islands of Southeast Asia to wherever these thugs hide, we and our allies applied the full range of military and intelligence assets to keep unrelenting pressure on Al Qaeda and its affiliates,” he said.

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