Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Afghanistan war is "necessity" says Obama
President Barack Obama today warned that the Taliban would not be defeated overnight but stressed that the conflict in Afghanistan was a war of "necessity".
Speaking in front of veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, the president said that US troops were working hard to secure polling stations to enable this week's elections to proceed so that Afghans could decide their own future.
He stated that the fight against insurgents would not be quick or easy, but that it was a war worth fighting.
His words came as the head of the British Army stated that UK troops could remain active in Afghanistan for another five years.
It also follows a period of increased bloodshed in the conflict, which has resulted in the number of allied casualties jumping over the last month.
Speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars' national convention, Mr Obama reiterated his view that a mixture of military power, diplomacy and development was needed to defeat the Taliban in both Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan.
He said: "As I said when I announced this strategy, there will be more difficult days ahead. The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't just happen overnight and we won't defeat it overnight.
"This will not be quick, this will not be easy."
But he added that Americans should not forget why US troops entered the country.
Mr Obama said: "This is not a war of choice, this is a war of necessity.
"Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaida would plot to kill more Americans.
"So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defence of our people."
Going forward, the president said that the US army would adapt its tactics to stay ahead of the enemy.
He also pledged that troops would be given the tools and equipment needed to succeed in Afghanistan.