Washington: The core of al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, US President Barack Obama has said adding that this has been mainly due to the relentless actions being taken by his administration against terrorist groups.
"We`ve put the core of al Qaeda on the path to defeat, and we`ve been relentless against its affiliates," Obama said yesterday during the farewell ceremony of outgoing US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.
Obama hailed Panetta`s role as CIA Director and then as Defence Secretary saying he played a key part in action against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
"Your leadership of the CIA will forever be remembered for the blows that we struck against al Qaeda and perhaps the greatest intelligence success in American history - delivering justice to Osama bin Laden," Obama said praising Panetta.
"Because we ended the war in Iraq, and are winding down the war in Afghanistan, our troops are coming home, and next year our war in Afghanistan will come to an end," he said.
Panetta, in his remarks, said that as the son of immigrants, he has truly lived the American Dream.
"Being an Italian-American in Congress, at senior levels in the executive branch has been, for me, a very unique experience. I will never forget the pride and exhilaration when I walked out of the White House after the President announced the success of the bin Laden operation," he said.
The memory of that operation and the team that helped put it together -- both the intelligence team and the military team -- will be with him forever, Panetta said.
Panetta said the US has developed and begun implementing a new defence strategy for the 21st century that protects the strongest military power in the world and meets its responsibility to fiscal discipline.
"We`re bringing, more than a decade of war to a responsible end -- ending the war in Iraq and we`ve kept pressure on al Qaeda, and we`re going after extremists wherever they may hide. And we have shown the world -- we have shown the world -- that nobody attacks the United States of America and gets away with it," Panetta said.