“I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture. The situation in Afghanistan is still tough. War has been a part of life in Afghanistan for over 30 years, and the United States cannot eliminate the Taliban or end violence in that country,” Obama delivered remarks in his final major speech on counterterrorism as U.S president.
However, he said that the U.S can deny al Qaeda a safe haven and “support Afghans who want a better future.”
Democratic Obama will hand over the White House on January 20 to new-elect president Donald Trump who has sharply criticized current administration’s approach to fighting terrorism.
During his speech, Obama claimed that his administration had been able to make al Qaeda a shadow of its former self” and had put Islamic State on its heels, but also warned that terrorism would remain a threat to U.S.
Obama emphasized that in Afghanistan, Americans are now supporting 320,000 local security forces that “are defending their communities and supporting our counterterrorism efforts.”
Taliban are waging insurgency in Afghanistan since their ouster from power after 9/11 attacks in 2001.
This statement comes at a time that Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, with Taliban insurgents and other terrorist groups, such as Daesh, operating in the country.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently said that Taliban insurgency would not survive a month without support from Pakistan.
A former U.S. army official has reportedly said that to win the war against Taliban in Afghanistan, it is necessary to destroy their safe havens in Pakistan.
“What’s required is a new strategy with a commitment to force the elimination of sanctuaries in Pakistan.” Said retired general, John M Keane, a former vice chief of staff of U.S. army.
He said that Pakistan military provides intelligence, training, and logistics assistance to enhance the Taliban operational performance while providing continuous safe haven for them.
THE PASHTUN TIMES