US will step up efforts to defeat al-Qaeda

Washington, Jan 20: The United States would continue to focus on its efforts in Afghanistan with regard to the war against terrorism and defeating al Qaeda, Taliban and other extremist organisations.

"The President laid out an Afghanistan strategy that he has been executing very deliberately and effectively, and we will continue to focus our efforts on executing that policy that brought a surge in forces that allowed us to focus our efforts on taking the fight to al-Qaida," White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters.

The US will pursue "the goal of disrupting, dismantling and ultimately defeating al-Qaida, with the other goal of stabilising Afghanistan to give the Afghan government breathing room to help train up Afghan security forces so that we could then draw down our forces, as we havebegun doing, and transfer security lead to the Afghans by the end of 2014."

"So that process is in place.

It's a process that we obviously are significantly engaged in, but it includes all of our ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) partners," Carney said in response to a question on the latest developments in Afghanistan, in which six of its soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash and French threat to withdraw from Afghanistan.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the French people and the families of those who lost loved ones in this tragic incident. Four French soldiers perished in Afghanistan. France is a valued member of the NATO ISAF coalition, and their forces have served alongside ours with valor and honour," he said.


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