US chalks out strategy to fight Qaeda post-Laden

Washington: Seeking "utter destruction" of al-Qaeda, the US has chalked out a strategy to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat the terror network and its core leadership in the Af-Pak region, where they have found a safe haven.

"We seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qaeda," John Brennan, the President`s chief counter-terrorism adviser, said yesterday, laying out the Obama administration`s plan to battle al-Qaeda in the era after Osama bin Laden.

A fact sheet on national counter-terrorism strategy issued by the White House said that its ultimate objective is clear and precise: "we will 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."

"This strategy builds upon the progress we have made in the decade since 9/11, in partnership with Congress, to build our counter-terrorism and homeland security capacity as a nation. It neither represents a wholesale overhaul ? nor a wholesale retention ? of previous policies and strategies," the fact sheet said.

It said the "principal focus" of this counter-terrorism strategy is the network that poses the most direct and significant threat to the United States — al-Qaeda, its affiliates and its adherents.

In his speech at the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Brennan said the US-Pakistan partnership is critical for success against al-Qaeda.

Militant organisations are "a real cancer" within Pakistan, which is facing a challenge to eradicate terror forces within its borders, Brennan said.

"My view is that there is a real cancer within Pakistan, from the standpoint of militant organisations," he said in response to a question.

"Whether you`re talking about al-Qaeda, whether you`re talking about the Pakistani Taliban or TTP, Haqqani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, others, there is I think a general recognition in the United States as well as throughout the world, that Pakistan has a real challenge ahead of it to uproot and eradicate the forces of militancy within Pakistan."

The top US counter-terrorism official said the Obama administration has a long-term goal in the Af-Pak area, which is to make sure that the US is able to maintain deep, strong and broad counter-terrorism ties with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said, as such, there is no alternative to continued engagement with Pakistan.

"In my mind, there`s no alternative to us or to the Pakistanis to ensuring that we continue engaging with them."

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