‘This continues to be a tough fight'

Even as there was a growing clamour of voices questioning the legality of the United States entering Pakistan's territory without notice and killing an unarmed Osama Bin Laden last Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama struck a defiant note on terror group al-Qaeda on Friday, saying “We have cut off their head and we will ultimately defeat them.”

Speaking to soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, scarcely five days after Navy SEALS stormed bin Laden's walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the President said that the U.S. was making progress in its “central goal in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is disrupting and dismantling... al-Qaeda.”

After a visit a day earlier to New York City, where Mr. Obama spoke with the families of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, he said at the military base, “I came here for a simple reason — to say thank you on behalf of America.” Adding that this was “an historic week in the life of our nation,” he said the terrorist leader who struck our nation on 9/11 “will never threaten America again”.

Mr. Obama also confirmed that he had met Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL, and commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, and also the members of the SEAL team involved in the operation.

He said, “Today... I had the privilege of meeting the extraordinary Special Ops folks who honoured [Mr. Obama's promise to “never forget” those lost in the 9/11 attacks]. It was a chance for me to say – on behalf of all Americans and people around the world — “Job well done.”

Mr. Obama also touched upon the Af-Pak region, noting that the U.S. was “making progress in Afghanistan... taking insurgents and their leaders off the battlefield and helping Afghans reclaim their communities.”

Further, across Afghanistan the Taliban's momentum had been broken and they had been pushed out of their strongholds. “We are building the capacity of Afghans, partnering with communities and police and security forces, which are growing stronger.” Mr. Obama said that this “This continues to be a very tough fight,” and in the coming months U.S. forces would start transferring responsibility for security to Afghan authorities reducing U.S. troop numbers. Arguing that the planned long-term partnership with the Afghan people would help ensure that “al-Qaeda can never again threaten America from that country, Mr. Obama reiterated, “The bottom line is this: Our strategy is working, and there's no greater evidence of that than justice finally being delivered to Osama bin Laden.”

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