Obama Said Al Qaeda is Still Planning Attacks

March 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Barack Obama said Al Qaeda is still actively planning attacks against the United States. Friday morning, the president outlined a new strategy for fighting America's enemies in Afghanistan: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Only hours before the president announced his new strategy for battling Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A suicide bomber destroyed a mosque in Pakistan during Friday prayers. At least forty-eight people were killed.

It's not clear yet who is responsible but the bombing violently highlights the challenges the U.S. faces in the region.

"The situation is increasingly perilous. It has been more than seven years since the Taliban was removed from power, yet war rages on, and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Attacks against our troops, our NATO allies, and the Afghan government have risen steadily," said President Obama.

The president will send an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan who will join the 17,000 he requested last month. A major focus will be on training Afghan security forces. By 2011, the president wants to beef up the Afghan army to 134,000 soldiers with a police force of 82,000.

"For three years, our commanders have been clear about the resources they need for training. Those resources have been denied because of the war in Iraq. Now, that will change," said Obama.

The president also focused on Pakistan, an ally that is increasingly becoming a safe haven for Al Qaeda and other insurgents. "Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to rooting out Al Qaeda and the violent extremists within its borders."

One goal of the new strategy is for the U.S. and its partners to eventually "wind down" combat operations but today the president made no mention of any timetable for troop withdrawal.

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