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Al Qaeda is being weakened: US General

Last Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 14:26

Washington: America`s top General in Afghanistan on Thursday said that the al Qaeda is being weakened and the US build up in the country includes more terrorist-hunting forces to chase down militants.
Stanley McChrystal, the Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said, "al Qaeda will continue to be made less and less relevant around the world. Their ideology
is bankrupt. It takes a while for that to be proven, but I think it is being proven."

"Their organisation is being weakened. I do think it`s important that Osama bin Laden be brought to justice in some way, not as complete closure, but as a step toward closure," the General said.

The General, who along with US Army top brass is currently deposing before the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the new forces induction in Afghanistan, said the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism.

"Clearly there are locations elsewhere around the world, but I believe that from that (Af-Pak), emanates a tremendous amount of the danger," he said.

"I believe over time, it`s important that, around the world, but particularly inside Pakistan and inside Afghanistan, the counter-insurgent effort to go against extremism be maintained consistently," he said.

"I think that we will find Osama bin Laden brought to justice at some point, but I think it will be defeated en route, regardless of when he is," Gen McChrystal said.

The General said Afghanistan is critical to stability and the future of security of Pakistan. "I think the government of Pakistan understands that, as well."

Later on appearing on the Charlie Rose Show, he said: "I believe it (Af-Pak region) is probably the epicentre."

Noting that the US has a shared strategic stake with the government of Pakistan and the Pakistani people, he said: "I think it`s critical that as they deal with their internal insurgency -- which is significant, and people call it the Pakistani Taliban or TTP, and it`s creating great pain for Pakistanis -- I think they are increasingly looking at what`s going on in Afghanistan, and realising that their success depends upon the success of Afghanistan to solve its own internal insurgency, and the converse is true as well."

Referring to the new Afghan policy announced by President Barack Obama, Gen McChrystal said: "I believe it`s important in the near term, which I defined as about 18 months, that we reverse the momentum that the Taliban have, some of what`s real and some of which is perceived, but therefore is also important."


First Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 14:26

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