Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to keep pressure on the al Qaeda terror group following the death of Osama bin Laden in last month`s daring US raid in Pakistan.
US military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan have served to "severely cripple al Qaeda`s capacities”, Obama said at a White House press conference.
"Osama bin Laden got the most attention, but before that we decimated some of the upper ranks of al Qaeda," he said.
The terror group is "having a great deal of difficulty operating and financing themselves. We`ll keep the pressure on," Obama said.
He stressed that it was in the US national interest "to make sure that you did not have a collapse of Afghanistan in which extremists elements could flood the zone once again, and over time al Qaeda may inbound a position to rebuild itself."
US military forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan "in a responsible way that will allow Afghanistan to defend itself and will give us the operational capacity to continue to put pressure on al Qaeda until that network is entirely defeated," he said.
One week ago, Obama announced plans to bring all 33,000 US surge troops home from Afghanistan by mid-2012.