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Obama pledges to fight Af-Pak region militants

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama pledged on the New Year eve to provide all the tools and training US intelligence professionals needed to fight the insurgents hiding in the Pak-Afghan region and elsewhere.

Obama pledges to fight Af-Pak region militants“We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” Mr Obama said in a statement on the anniversary of a terrorist attack in a remote outpost in Khost, Afghanistan, that killed seven CIA officers.

The CIA operatives were killed a year ago by a Jordanian informant who was allowed into the post as a friendly informant but set off explosives rigged to his body.

The attack destroyed what had been a focal point of counter-terrorism for the spy agency.

“As we mark the first anniversary of their sacrifice at Khost, this is the work to which we recommit ourselves today,” Mr Obama said in the statement, and pledged that his government would “ensure that our dedicated intelligence professionals have the training and tools they need to meet the missions we ask of them”.

It was the highest number of casualties America’s Central Intelligence Agency suffered since the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut in 1983.

The attack, one of the deadliest in CIA’s history, gave a stark signal of an upsurge of violence in the crucial battlegrounds in the war-torn country.

President Obama, however, noted that since last year’s attack the top Al Qaeda leadership had been considerably weakened and put on the defensive.

“Today, Al Qaeda’s senior leadership is under more pressure than ever before and is hunkered down in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.

The US, he said, was relentlessly pursuing its mission to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately defeat that terrorist organisation.

“In the United States and around the world, plots have been thwarted, attacks have been disrupted, and the lives of Americans have been saved,” he added.

The US media reported on Friday that Jennifer Matthews, the 45-year-old CIA base chief, who was killed in Khost, played a key role in the bust of the 2006 Al Qaeda plot to bomb as many as 10 US-bound jets.

Mr Obama said that as president he relied on the intelligence he received from US agencies and knew that his “country is more secure, and the American people are safer, because of their extraordinary service”.

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