Pak "not fast enough" in uprooting terror havens along Afghan border region:Obama

Washington, Dec 17 (ANI): Pakistan's progress in rooting out terrorists has "not come fast enough", and so the United States will continue insisting it to deal with the terror havens within its borders, US President Barack Obama has said.

"We will continue to focus on our relationship with Pakistan. Increasingly, the Pakistani government recognizes that terrorist networks in its border regions are a threat to all our countries, especially Pakistan. We've welcomed major Pakistani offensives in the tribal regions. We will continue to help strengthen Pakistanis' capacity to root out terrorists," Obama said at the White House on the occasion of the Afghanistan-Pakistan annual review.

"Nevertheless, progress has not come fast enough. So we will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with," he added.

The president also declared that the US will intensify its "efforts to encourage closer cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan."

He said that in Afghanistan, the US remained focused on the three areas of its strategy: "our military effort to break the Taliban's momentum and train Afghan forces so they can take the lead; our civilian effort to promote effective governance and development; and regional cooperation, especially with Pakistan, because our strategy has to succeed on both sides of the border."Obama said that the US was focused on disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and preventing its capacity to threaten America and its allies in the future.

"In pursuit of our core goal we are seeing significant progress. Today, al Qaeda's senior leadership in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan is under more pressure than at any point since they fled Afghanistan nine years ago. Senior leaders have been killed. It's harder for them to recruit; it's harder for them to travel; it's harder for them to train; it's harder for them to plot and launch attacks. In short, al Qaeda is hunkered down," he said.

"It will take time to ultimately defeat al Qaeda, and it remains a ruthless and resilient enemy bent on attacking our country. But make no mistake-we are going to remain relentless in disrupting and dismantling that terrorist organization," Obama added.

He said that with the additional forces in Afghanistan, the US and its allies were making considerable gains toward their military objectives.

"The additional military and civilian personnel that I ordered in Afghanistan are now in place, along with additional forces from our coalition, which has grown to 49 nations. Along with our Afghan partners, we've gone on the offensive, targeting the Taliban and its leaders and pushing them out of their strongholds," he said.

"As I said when I visited our troops in Afghanistan earlier this month, progress comes slowly and at a very high price in the lives of our men and women in uniform. In many places, the gains we've made are still fragile and reversible. But there is no question we are clearing more areas from Taliban control and more Afghans are reclaiming their communities," Obama added. (ANI)

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