‘Core al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, Afghanistan decimated’

WASHINGTON: The US has decimated the core leadership of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the White House said. “What is beyond debate is that prior to 2001, core al Qaeda was operating in a virtual vacuum in the area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and used that area that was essentially lawless as a base of operations to launch a horrific attack against the United States of America,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference. “Since that time, members of the military, members of the intelligence community and others have worked to mitigate that threat, and, in fact, decimated the core al Qaeda leadership that previously was operating with impunity in that area,” he said. “However, what we continue to face are elements that are either sympathetic to al Qaeda, or associate themselves with the ideology of al Qaeda in other remote areas of the world that do pose a threat to the United States and our interests and our allies. And this administration has kept up a very aggressive pace of trying to counter that threat,” he said. “I think what we are is we are in a position where we have made significant gains over the last decade or so against al Qaeda elements that previously operated with impunity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and used that area to launch terrible attacks against the American people. There’s no doubt that we’ve made tremendous progress along those lines,” Earnest said. “The threat from other affiliated organizations around the globe continues to exist. This administration is working literally around the clock to mitigate those threats, to counter those threats, in some cases to bring those terrorists to justice. And the President’s record on that is incredibly strong,” he asserted. 

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