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“We now have the opportunity — we’re not done yet — but we’ve got the opportunity, I think, to finally defeat at least al-Qaida in that border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that we will defeat terrorism, it doesn’t mean that al-Qaida hasn’t metastasized to other parts of the world where we’ve got to address operatives there. But it does mean we’ve got a chance to, I think, really deliver a fatal blow to this organization if we follow through aggressively in the months to come.”
Obama credited some of the mission’s success to the boost in troops in Afghanistan to target the Taliban and al-Qaida.
“We’ve denigrated al-Qaida significantly even before we got bin Laden, and I think it’s important for everybody to understand that the work that’s been done in Afghanistan helped to prepare us for being able to take bin Laden out,” he said.
The United States is scheduled to begin drawing down troops from Afghanistan in July, and Obama stood by the timeline.
“It’s important to understand that our job’s not yet finished and that we’ve got to make sure that we leave an Afghanistan that can secure itself, that does not again become a safe haven for terrorist activity,” he said. “But I think that they can be accomplished on the timeline that I’ve already set out.”