Obama outlines new US strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan (Lead)

March 27th, 2009 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, March 27 (DPA) US President Barack Obama outlined his administration’s new strategy in Afghanistan Friday, saying a major goal will be to shut down the Al Qaeda terrorist network in Afghanistan and Pakistan through a bolstered troop presence.
“We have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future,” Obama said.

Obama made clear that the fight will be taken into neighbouring Pakistan, where the US has been conducting periodic border attacks against suspected terrorist sites. He said the future of Afghanistan is “inextricably linked” to the future of Pakistan.

“Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that Al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the US homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan,” Obama said.

He warned that if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban, the country would again become “a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.”

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