White House: US to 'Disrupt, Dismantle, and Destroy' Al Qaida
By VOA News
27 March 2009
U.S. officials say President Barack Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan will significantly increase the committment of U.S. troops and other resources in order to "disrupt, dismantle and destroy" al-Qaida and its allies.
Officials say the goal is to wipe out al Qaida safe havens in Pakistan, and prevent the terrorist group from reestablishing itself in Afghanistan.
Mr. Obama spoke to the presidents of both Afghanistan and Pakistan by telephone Thursday, and will officially announce the plan Friday. An official said Mr. Obama was gratified by the responses of the Afghan and Pakistan leaders.
The official said the president has inherited a situation where al Qaida has shifted its operations from Afghanistan to Pakistan but is still plotting to do harm to the United States. He said Mr. Obama will announce the allocation of 4,000 additional troops to train Afghan forces, in addition to the 17,000 already announced last month.
Mr. Obama's nominee for ambassador to Afghanistan, Army Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, told senators Thursday that unraveling the Taliban's gains in the region is going to require more aid and a coordinated approach with Pakistan.
Eikenberry said U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani officials are to meet in early May to discuss improving cooperation in the fight against extremists.
Eikenberry has served as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and is currently the deputy chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels. The Senate must confirm Eikenberry before he can take over as ambassador.
Militant violence in Afghanistan has increased to its highest levels since a U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban government in 2001.
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