President Barack Obama has said that the US has decided to keep a large number of American troops in Afghanistan wipe out the Islamic State terror group in the country.
“In Afghanistan, one of the reasons that I decided to largely maintain our current force posture was so that we could keep eliminating ISIL’s (ISIS) presence there,” Obama said yesterday.
“We delivered another blow last month when we took out a top ISIL leader in Afghanistan, Umar Khalifa,” he said.
Recently Obama announced his intention to keep 8,500 American troops in Afghanistan till January next year as against the 5,500 decided earlier.
Obama said every time there is a terrorist attack he feels disappointment, because he would like to prevent all of them.
“That’s true not just when the attacks are in Europe or in the United States. When you read stories about attacks in Lebanon, Iraq or Afghanistan, or distant parts of the world that don’t get as much attention, they get my attention,” he said.
“Because that is somebody’s kid, somebody’s mom, somebody who is just going about his business and mindlessly, senselessly, this person was murdered. So I haven’t gotten numb to it. It bugs me whenever it happens, and wherever it happens,” he said replying to a question.
“We are constantly pushing ourselves to see are there additional ideas that we can deploy to defeat this threat,” he added.
“Now, it is important that we recognise terrorism, as a tactic, has been around for a long time. If you look at the 1970’s, or the 1980’s, or the 1990’s, there was some terrorist activity somewhere in the world that was brutal,” Obama said.
“As much as I would like to say that during my eight year presidency we could have eliminated terrorism completely, it is not surprising that it hasn’t happened, and I don’t expect that will happen under the watch of my successors,” he said.
The US president said if the IS had not destroyed Al-Qaeda in the FATA (Pakistan), more Americans would have been killed and more attacks like 9/11 would have taken place.
He said the US has maintained vigilance, recognising those threats still remain, those aspirations in the minds of these folks still remain but it is much harder for them to carry out large scale attacks like that than it used to be.
“That, I think, points to the need for us to not just have a military strategy, not just have a traditional counterterrorism strategy that’s designed to bust up networks catch folks before they carry out their attacks, although those still are necessary and we have to be more and more sophisticated about how we carry those out. It still requires us to have much greater cooperation with our partners around the world,” Obama said.
He stressed on the need for the US and its allies to do a better job in draining the ideology that is behind these attacks.
“That right now is emanating largely out of the Middle East, and a very small fraction of the Muslim world,” he said.
“A perversion of Islam that has taken root and has been turbo charged over the Internet and that is appealing to even folks who don’t necessarily know anything about Islam, and aren’t even practicing Islam in any serious way,” Obama said.
“But, they have all kinds of psychosis and latch onto this as some way of being important and magnifying themselves,” he said, adding it is tougher because that involves both changes in geopolitics in places like Syria.
Obama said cultural changes are required in regions like the Middle East and North Africa that are going through generational changes and for that it is needed to think how do messages of hate reach the individuals and the ways in which we can intervene.