'Tackling IS requires strong military action, diplomatic plan'

 Addressing the challenge of the Islamic State (IS), the brutal terrorist group that has gained control over a large part of Iraq and Syria, requires strong military action backed by a diplomatic plan, leaders of the US and UK said today.

PTI| Updated: Oct 09, 2014, 04:15 AM IST

Washington: Addressing the challenge of the Islamic State (IS), the brutal terrorist group that has gained control over a large part of Iraq and Syria, requires strong military action backed by a diplomatic plan, leaders of the US and UK said today.

"It is clear that tackling IS requires a strong military response from the international community, but that has to be combined with a clear diplomatic plan to support the new Iraqi government's inclusive programme to hamper IS' access to funds, fighters and resources, and the political strategy to combat the poisonous ideology that underpins IS and counter those trying to spread sectarian violence and hatred across the region and beyond, visiting British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.

Addressing a news conference with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, Hammond said that those elements are in place.

"I am pleased that Britain is playing a key role in that response, leading efforts at the UN to cut off IS funding, a long-running counter-radicalisation programme at home and now RAF jets and surveillance assets contributing to the military response," he said.

"Britain will continue to work closely with coalition partners on further actions that we can take across the international community to ensure that we tackle IS not just through military action but through all those other strands of action which are essential to ensure our long-term success," he added.

Kerry said they are deeply concerned about the people of Kobani border town who are battling against IS terrorists.

"As horrific as it is to watch in real time what's happening in Kobani, it's also important to remember you have to step back and understand the strategic objective and where we have begun over the course of the last weeks," he said.

"This is a structure that is evolving on a daily basis and, notwithstanding the crisis in Kobani, the original targets of our efforts have been the command-and-control centers, the infrastructure. We're trying to deprive IS of the overall ability to wage this, not just in Kobani, but throughout Syria and into Iraq," he said.

White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters at a different news conference that the strategy is not a short-term proposition.

"This is going to require the sustained commitment of the US and the broader international coalition to achieve our goal, that is ultimately degrading and destroying IS,"he said.

The US military, over the last couple of days, has conducted a number of military airstrikes against IS targets in the region.

"There were five airstrikes that had been conducted against IS targets around Kobani. Just last night an additional six targets were hit that resulted in the destruction, of three IS armoured vehicles and the destruction of an IS artillery piece. There were other elements that were damaged and degraded," he said.

"This is an indication that the US is taking airstrikes to limit the ability of IS to encroach on this community. The fact remains, however, that the limitations that are in place, meaning just airstrikes, limits our capabilities in this region," Earnest said.