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Updated: January 12, 2010 10:55 IST

Af-Pak border still epicentre of al-Qaeda: Obama

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U.S. President Barack Obama, a file photo.
U.S. President Barack Obama, a file photo.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan border remains the epicentre of al-Qaeda activities, U.S. President Barack Obama has said, ruling out sending troops to Yemen where the group has become a concern of late.

“The border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains the epicentre of al Qaeda,” Mr. Obama said in an interview to People magazine, the excerpts of which were released on Monday.

At the same time he acknowledged that al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has become “a more serious problem”, but ruled out sending troops to Yemen at this point of time.

“I have no intention of sending U.S. boots on the ground in these regions,” Mr. Obama said.

“I have every intention of working with our international partners in lawless areas around the globe to make sure that we’re keeping the American people safe,” Mr. Obama said.

U.S. has currently deployed a large number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Mr. Obama saying the war’s focus is the latter country. The number of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan is set to cross the 100,000 mark.

Al-Qaeda’s activities in Yemen came to prominence following the failed attempt to bomb a US plane by a Nigerian national, whose responsibility was later claimed by al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, which has its base in Yemen.

The President’s words were echoed by his top military generals too and the CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus, told CNN that AfPak, not Yemen, remains the most important location for the war against al Qaeda.

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