Defeating al Qaeda is many-year effort: Brennan
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 08, 2011, 16:36
Washington: The killing of Osama bin Laden and several other key al Qaeda militants is a major setback for the terror network in Pakistan, but it is going to be "a many-year effort" before the outfit is defeated, a top White House official has said.

"These are individuals that were determined to carry out an attack against Western interests, including in the homeland here. Taking them off of the battlefield, capture, and their deaths, has really set al Qaeda core - the senior leadership of al Qaeda in Pakistan - back significantly," John Brennan, the top counter-terrorism advisor to the US President Barack Obama said.

"Well, you have al Qaeda core, which is the senior leadership, which is in the FATA area of Pakistan, which really has taken it on the chin significantly as a result of our and Pakistani efforts. That has been degraded significantly over the past couple of years," Brennan said in an interview on the PBS NEWSHOUR.

But he noted that other al Qaeda affiliates still pose major risks.

"But you have other al Qaeda elements: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is mainly in Yemen right now; you have al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which is the Sahel area of Africa; al Qaeda in Iraq," he said.

"And so these franchises are active. They're carrying out attacks against locals - the Yemenis, you know, the Iraqis and others. And, also, there are elements that are trying to carry out attacks against us - American interests in those countries as well as to try to do things in the homeland here," he said.

"So those franchises are active and to - we have al Qaeda core on the ropes, but that doesn't mean that these other elements are not able and determined to carry out an attack. And - you know, we - yes, we are concerned about what they might try to do," Brennan said.

Brennan said defeating the phenomenon of terrorism that al Qaeda manifests and represents, is going to be "a many-year effort".

"So we cannot relent. We cannot, even with the death of bin Laden - and if we get Zawahiri and others, that is not reason for us to relax," he said.

"There is a core of these extremists that have this distorted concept of Islam and are determined to carry out attacks in the name of Islam. They're murderers, and we need to do everything possible to eliminate the threat that they pose to us, but also work with the countries overseas to make sure that they build the institutions as well as provide for their people, you know, the opportunities that will make the terrorists' ideology blatantly bankrupt," he said.


First Published: Thursday, September 08, 2011, 16:36

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