US to keep troops in Afghanistan till next year to tackle ISIS

Friday, Aug 5, 2016,12:34 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | President Barack Obama has said that the US has decided to keep a large number of American troops in Afghanistan wipe out the Islamic State terror group in the country.

In Afghanistan, one of the reasons that I decided to largely maintain our current force posture was so that we could keep eliminating ISIL’s (ISIS) presence there, Obama said yesterday. We delivered another blow last month when we took out a top ISIL leader in Afghanistan, Umar Khalifa, he said. Recently Obama announced his intention to keep 8,500 American troops in Afghanistan till January next year as against the 5,500 decided earlier.

Obama said every time there is a terrorist attack he feels disappointment, because he would like to prevent all of them. That’s true not just when the attacks are in Europe or in the United States. When you read stories about attacks in Lebanon, Iraq or Afghanistan, or distant parts of the world that don’t get as much attention, they get my attention, he said. Because that is somebody’s kid, somebody’s mom, somebody who is just going about his business and mindlessly, senselessly, this person was murdered. So I haven’t gotten numb to it.

It bugs me whenever it happens, and wherever it happens, he said replying to a question. We are constantly pushing ourselves to see are there additional ideas that we can deploy to defeat this threat, he added. Now, it is important that we recognise terrorism, as a tactic, has been around for a long time. If you look at the 1970′s, or the 1980′s, or the 1990′s, there was some terrorist activity somewhere in the world that was brutal, Obama said.

As much as I would like to say that during my eight year presidency we could have eliminated terrorism completely, it is not surprising that it hasn’t happened, and I don’t expect that will happen under the watch of my successors, he said. The US president said if the IS had not destroyed Al-Qaeda in the FATA (Pakistan), more Americans would have been killed and more attacks like 9/11 would have taken place.