Obama salutes commandos
LALIT K JHA
Washington, May 7: Saluting the commandos who killed Osama bin Laden for a "job well done", President Barack Obama has declared that the US had "cut off" al-Qaeda's head with the killing of its chief and would ultimately crush the outfit. "We have cut off their head and we will ultimately defeat them," he said last evening after meeting privately with members of the assault team that killed bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad on Monday. "We're making progress in our major goal, our central goal in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is disrupting and dismantling and ultimately defeating al-Qaeda," Obama said at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where had gone to address American troops on their return from active duty in Afghanistan.
This was the President's first major address on the issue after he announced on Monday that bin Laden has been killed in a successful US operation in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad. Obama also met the American special forces commandos, who killed bin Laden, and saluted them on behalf of the US and people all over the world for a "job well done".
The President, who was accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, was briefed about the operation by members of the special operations troops who executed the dangerous raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad.
The White House said Obama and Biden met the full assault force that carried out the operation.
Obama awarded a Presidential Unit Citation - the highest such honour that can be given to a unit - to those involved in the operation in recognition of their extraordinary service and achievement.
Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said the killing of bin Laden could be "a game changer" in the war against terrorism.
"In terms of the impact of the killing of Osama bin Laden, in terms of the situation in Afghanistan, I think that there is a possibility that it could be a game changer," Gates said in response to a question during a troop visit at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Pak should prove its commitment: US
Meanwhile, US Saturday asked Pakistan to show "concrete actions" to prove its commitment in the “war against terrorism,” even as it has sought an explanation from Islamabad on its ignorance about Osama bin Laden's hideout.
"We're going to look for concrete actions and concrete signs from the Pakistanis that they're also committed to this (fighting terrorism)," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters here. At the same time, Toner said it is also important that US-Pak counterterrorism cooperation that's been going on since 9/11 has borne fruit and has led to some successes.
"It has put increased pressure on al-Qaeda and other militant groups operating within Pakistan. Terrorism is an existential threat for Pakistan," he said, adding thousands of Pakistanis have been killed both by al-Qaeda and other groups.
"So we believe it's important that this kind of cooperation continue," he added.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 8 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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