Unveiling his strategy to defeat al Qaeda and its allies, President Obama has declared that the safety of people around the world is at stake. Evoking an increasingly perilous situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he outlined plans for more troops, more cash and greater diplomacy.
“We are not in Afghanistan to control that country nor to dictate its future,” he told a news conference in Washington. “We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and our allies and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists.” Obama set out plans to boost funding for Pakistan. “Today I am calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan bill that authorises 1.5 billion dollars in direct suport to the Pakistani people every year over the next five years.” The extra US personnel will train and support Afghan forces and civilian authorities. Obama stressed the scale of the challenge ahead. “Afghanistan has an elected government but it is undermined by corruption and has difficulty delivering basic services to its people,” he said. “The economy is undercut by a booming narcotics trade that encourages criminality and funds the insurgency.” Kabul said it welcomed all the major conclusions of the US review, particularly recognition that the war against the Taliban was a regional problem.