UK & World News
Obama: We're On Course To Destroy Al Qaeda
Barack Obama has told the US that a decade under "the dark cloud of war" is almost over and that his administration is on course to destroy al Qaeda.
The US President told the American people in a primetime speech that the US combat role in Afghanistan was now also winding down, just as it already has in Iraq.
Speaking from a military airbase in Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, he insisted: "We can see the light of a new day on the horizon."
But within hours of his trip to the war-torn country, a car bomb exploded in Kabul where the leader had been just hours earlier. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility.
Mr Obama's secret visit and address to the nation came as the leader began focusing on his battle for re-election and looks to portray his foreign policy as a success.
He said: "As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it's time to renew America. This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end."
Mr Obama added: "The goal that I set to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild is now within our reach."
The leader admitted that "many Americans are tired of war" but insisted it was necessary to "finish the job" and end the Afghan conflict responsibly.
He said another 23,000 soldiers would come home this summer and that reductions would continue at a "steady pace" up to 2014.
In a reference to the September 11 attacks, he added: "As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it is time to renew America... a united America of grit and resilience, where sunlight glistens off soaring new towers in downtown Manhattan, and we build our future as one people, as one nation."
The trip was the president's fourth to Afghanistan and he spent around seven hours on the ground in total.
He landed in Bagram under cover of darkness and was taken by helicopter to see Afghan president Hamid Karzai at his palace in Kabul.
There, the two leaders signed an agreement enshrining America's continued support for Afghanistan and the nature of its commitment when Nato combat troops leave.
The US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement sets out the US relationship with Afghanistan beyond 2014, and covers security, economics and governance.
It means Afghanistan is guaranteed its sovereignty, with a promise that it will not be abandoned.
And the US is able to end its combat mission in the long and unpopular war, which began in 2001, but keep a foothold in the country.
The agreement does not commit the US to any specific troop presence or spending.
But it does allow America to potentially keep troops in Afghanistan after the war ends for two specific reasons: continued training of Afghan forces and targeted operations against al Qaeda.
The terror group is present in neighbouring Pakistan but has only a nominal presence inside Afghanistan.
The White House said: "The agreement provides for the possibility of US forces in Afghanistan after 2014, for the purposes of training Afghan forces and targeting the remnants of al Qaeda."
Speaking alongside Mr Karzai, Mr Obama declared: "Together, we're now committed to replacing war with peace."
The US leader admitted there would be difficult days ahead for Afghanistan, but said the Afghan people were taking control of their own future.
He said: "The wages of war have been great for both our nations," adding he looked forward to a "future of peace".
Mr Karzai said his people "will never forget" the help of US forces over the past decade.
He said the partnership agreement shows the two nations will continue to fight terrorism together. The leaders shook hands after the signing.
During the trip, Mr Obama, the commander-in-chief of American troops, also addressed soldiers at Bagram air base.
"It's still tough, the battle is not yet over. Some of your buddies are going to get injured, some of your buddies may get killed," he said.
"There is going to be heartbreak and pain and difficulty ahead, but there is a light on the horizon because of the sacrifices you have made."
what do you think?
That means that Cameroon is gonna pledge the same. God help our poor soldiers.
One year after Bin Laden's death and over 10 years since 9/11, American citizens are still blindly allowing their civil liberties to be taken away one piece of legislation at a time. How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice to feel safe? Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public approval or vote just weeks after the twin towers fell. These laws are simply a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without trial or a right to council. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist's blog at <a href="http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html" rel='nofollow'>http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html</a>
Absolutely! People need to wake up before its too late. Our civil liberties seem like a small price to pay for the long suffering and pure misery we have so evily and greedily inflicted upon the people of the middle east.
I think it was Benjamin franklin who said "those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" If the war on terror is ending, I wonder what the next thing they'll make up to keep us in fear will be?
It has been and still is a long and drawn out War, But it had to happen. there is slowly but surely more peace on earth and one less enemy in the middle east. "Sometimes you have to fight for peace"
Well said. The only comment on here that shows any semblance of common sense.
This country will never change bound by tribe...it will desecend into the chaos that is Iraq with Heroin production going through the roof and just a load of very unhappy normal Afghans who will see that they have been abandoned to lawless Police and Security forces. We messed this already messed up country into a real cluster fudge and are trying to wash our hands of it as the public has had enough.
Seeing as it was the US who decided group all these 'evil ones' together and call them Al Qaeda makes sense that they decide when to ungroup them / declare victory.. Nonsense.
He sneaks into Afghanistan like a thief in the night, all of these gobsmiths are cowards, even on a trip to Dublin, Obama was accompanied by an army of bodyguards, Irish airspace was shut down until he touched down. These politicians are eager to send servicemen to their deaths but extremely wary of putting their own skins at risk.
I seem to remember another american president announcing "we've won" - and that was 10 years ago.
yes but he was a comple idiot (but only a bit more than this one )
Windows Live User
His Administration? Alone?
I suppose the regime that had a hand in creating al Qaeda in the first place has a right to destroy it's own creation.
Isn't there another election looming?
Yeah right. And some of my best friends are gunners,the cheque's in the mail and of course I'll respect you in the morning. The man's no different to any other politician; his eye's on the main chance and woe betide anyone who gets in his way. America deserves better
Dream on mr president