Wed, Feb 11, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Al-Qaeda, Taliban will not act ‘with impunity’ in Afghanistan, Obama says


US President Barack Obama vowed to prevent al-Qaeda from operating “with impunity” in Afghanistan and called for a combined effort to eradicate safe havens for the Taliban and other militants there.

As Washington launches a review of US policy in Afghanistan, Obama said Afghanistan’s national government “seems very detached from what’s going on in the surrounding community.”

In his first press conference on Monday, Obama pointed to Taliban and al-Qaeda militants operating in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“What we haven’t seen is the kind of concerted effort to root out those safe havens that ultimately makes our mission successful,” he said.

“We are going to need more effective coordination with our military efforts with diplomatic efforts, with development efforts, with more effective coordination with our allies in order for us to be successful,” he said.

“I do not have a timetable for how long that’s going to take. What I know is I’m not going to allow al-Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden to operate with impunity attacking the US,” he said.

“My bottom line is that we cannot allow al-Qaeda to operate, we cannot have safe havens in that region. And we’re going to have to work both smartly and with consistency,” he said.

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