Taliban and al-Qaeda must be stopped
President Barack Obama yesterday ordered 4,000 more military troops into Afghanistan, vowing to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The new troop build up he announced is aimed principally at bolstering the Afghan army and turning up the heat on terrorists that Obama said are plotting new attacks against Americans.
He called the situation in the region "increasingly perilous" more than seven years after the Taliban was removed from power in Afghanistan.
"If the Afghanistan government falls to the Taliban or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged," Obama said, "that country will again be a base for terrorists."
He announced the troop deployment, as well as plans to send hundreds of additional civilians to Afghanistan, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and top intelligence and national security figures at his side. The announcement came at the end of an extensive policy review that Obama launched on Afghan-Pakistan policy not long after taking the oath of office.
The 4,000 troops come not long after the new administration approved the dispatch of an additional 17,000 forces to the war-weary nation.
Obama bluntly warned that the al-Qaeda terrorists who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were actively planning further attacks on the United States from safe havens in Pakistan. And he said the Afghanistan government is in peril of falling to the Islamic militants of the Taliban once again.
"So I want the American people to understand that 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," the president said.
"That is the goal that must be achieved," Obama added. "That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you."
Obama's plan will put more U.S. troops and money on the line. He said Pakistan and Afghanistan will be held to account, using benchmarks for progress.