US seeks to destroy Al Qaeda's core in Pakistan

US seeks to destroy Al Qaeda's core in Pakistan

"We aim to render the heart of Al Qaeda incapable of launching attacks against our homeland, our citizens, or our allies, as well as preventing the group from inspiring its affiliates and adherents to do so," John Brennan, assistant to the president for Homeland Security, said Wednesday.

"And we seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself Al Qaeda," he said expanding on the White House counter terrorism strategy at the John Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Acknowledging that US "relationship with Pakistan is not without tension or frustration", he said: "We are now working with our Pakistani partners to overcome differences and continue our efforts against our common enemies." "It is essential that we do so. As frustrating as this relationship can sometimes be, Pakistan has been critical to many of our most significant successes against Al Qaeda," he said explaining why we must continue our cooperation with Pakistan.

Claiming that over the past two and half years more than half of Al Qaeda's top leadership has been eliminated, Brennan said with the death of Osama bin Laden, the US had struck its biggest blow against the terrorist group.

Information seized from his hideout in Pakistan reveals Osama's concerns about Al Qaeda's long-term viability, he said noting the Al Qaeda called for more large-scale attacks against America, but encountered resistance from his followers.

"Perhaps most importantly, bin Laden clearly sensed that Al Qaeda is losing the larger battle for hearts and minds," Brennan said. But "this fight is not over," he said and cited President Barack Obama to reiterate his administration's  resolve: "We have put Al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done."

US President Barack Obama's National Counterterrorism Strategy focuses almost exclusively on destroying Al Qaeda with seven specific goals. Formally outlining the strategies Obama administration has been pursuing, White House said Wednesday the US will aim to "disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately defeat Al Qaeda-its leadership core in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, its affiliates and adherents to ensure the security of our citizens and interests".

Seven key goals of the strategy are:

-- Reducing US vulnerabilities and updating defences
-- Disrupting, degrading and dismantling Al Qaeda wherever it takes root
-- Preventing terrorists from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction
-- Eliminating Al Qaeda safe havens
-- Degrading links between Al Qaeda, its affiliates and adherents
-- Countering Al Qaeda ideology
-- Depriving Al Qaeda of illicit financing, logistical support, and online communications

"This is a war - a broad, sustained, integrated and relentless campaign that harnesses every element of American power," said John Brennan.
Brennan said the major four planks of the strategy are: utilising all available lawful tools and authority, building partnerships and allies abroad, and "building a culture of resilience here at home".

Even as it touted the success of the strategy, pointing to the terrorist organization's decimated leadership and operational capacities, Brennan stressed that the US must "continue to pummel Al Qaeda and its ilk", lest it regain ground.

Brennan also announced that the Obama administration will unveil a programme this summer to partner with communities to prevent violent extremism in the US.

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