Qaeda members hiding in Af-Pak region remains a concern: US
"There continues to be concern that there are al-Qaeda leaders that are hiding out in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
"Because of our counter-terrorism efforts core al-Qaeda has been decimated, and these counter-terrorism operations have had an impact on al-Qaeda's ability to receive recruits," he said yesterday.
"It had an impact on their command and control capability. It even had an impact on the freedom of movement of some al-Qaeda leaders because they're so intensely focused on their own security now," he added.
"So that pressure that is been applied to those al-Qaeda leaders in that region of the world has had important national security benefits for the United States. It also had important national security benefits for both Afghanistan and Pakistan," Earnest said.
"But we're mindful of the continuing threat. This is obviously a region of the world that is rather remote. We know that local forces have limited capability to operate in some areas of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. It is why we continue to use some of our capabilities in that region to protect the American people," he said.
Earnest said the US values the kind of security cooperation that it gets from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"After all many of the extremists that are hiding out in this region have either planned or even carried out attacks in which the vast majority of the victims were actually Muslim citizens of Pakistan," he said.
"It is an indication that these kinds of extremist terrorist elements that are operating in the region of these two countries aren't just a threat to the American people, they are also a threat to the Afghan people and to the Pakistani people," he added.
"That's why the United States government has succeed in building strong security relationships with both those countries to try to mitigate that threat," Earnest said.
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