World News > Al-Qaeda is still a spreading and imminent threat, US Secretary of State said Thursday, as she joined major world powers in Istanbul for a meeting to curb terrorism.
“The core of Al-Qaeda that carried out the 9/11 attacks may be on the path to defeat, but the threat has spread, becoming more geographically diverse,” Clinton said at a speech that kick started the Global Counterterrorism Forum meeting.
“We will always maintain our right to use force against groups such as Al-Qaeda that have attacked us and still threaten us with imminent attack.”
Although the group has lost serious blood after its core leadership ranks were destroyed, Clinton said, “the danger from terrorism remains urgent and undeniable.”
She was referring to the recent killing of Al-Qaeda number two Abu Yahya al-Libi Tuesday, after a US drone strike dealt the most weighty blow to the group since the killing of its mastermind, Osama bin Laden.
“Just as the threat we face crosses borders and oceans, so must our response,” Clinton added, calling on some thirty participants of the forum for an orchestrated effort to battle terrorism across the world.
Her call for increased global efforts was backed up by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who co-chairs the Istanbul meeting with the US top diplomat.
“I believe one thing is crystal clear to all of us: No country is immune from this threat and we cannot win the fight against terrorism unless we join hands,” said Davutoglu for his part.
The second meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, established by support of the United Nations in 2011, came amid concerns of civilian losses during strikes against terrorist groups, particularly in NATO activity zones.
Clinton pledged that the US, the largest and commanding force in NATO, would “go to extraordinary lengths to ensure precision and avoid the loss of innocent life,” coinciding with an angry Afghani response over unintentional killing of 18 civilians by a NATO air strike Wednesday.
NATO’s US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the strike was ordered after troops came under fire during an operation against a Taliban insurgent leader, and it would investigate charges of civilian deaths.
Civilian casualties caused by US and NATO air strikes have been a frequent source of tension concerning the use of drones in combatting terrorism.
US officials insist on continued drone attacks against Al-Qaeda affiliated insurgents, now pushed into Pakistan after the US entry in Afghanistan following September 11 attacks.
Since US President Barack Obama took office in 2009, US forces have been engaged in a relentless attempt to crush the group in various countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. AFP