WASHINGTON: The White House said on Friday that the United States has decimated the core leadership of Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told a news briefing in Washington that before 2001, core Al Qaeda was operating in “a virtual vacuum” in the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
This allowed them to launch “a horrific attack” against the United States on Sept 11, 2001, he added.
“Since that time, members of the military, members of the intelligence community and others have worked to mitigate that threat, and, in fact, decimated the core Al Qaeda leadership that previously was operating with impunity in that area,” Mr Earnest said.
But he warned that despite Al Qaeda’s decimation, the threat of terrorism had not disappeared. “What we continue to face are elements that are either sympathetic to Al Qaeda, or associate themselves with the ideology of Al Qaeda in other remote areas of the world that do pose a threat to the United States and our interests and our allies,” the White House official said.
The Obama administration, he added, had kept up a “very aggressive pace” of trying to counter that threat.
The United States, he said, made significant gains over the last decade or so against Al Qaeda elements.
“There’s no doubt that we’ve made tremendous progress along those lines,” Mr Earnest said. “The threat from other affiliated organisations around the globe continues to exist. This administration is working literally around the clock to mitigate those threats, to counter those threats, in some cases to bring those terrorists to justice. And the president’s record on that is incredibly strong,” he asserted.
Published in Dawn, Aug 2nd , 2014