Saturday, May 23, 2015Saturday, May 23, 2015

Obama says US goal in Afghanistan 'within reach'

Published on Jan 12, 2013 7:04 PM
US President Barack Obama (left) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrive for a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Jan 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said on Saturday that the US goal in Afghanistan was "within reach" as he vowed to move ahead with a timetable to end the 11-year-old military campaign and focus on a broad domestic agenda.

"We've pushed the Taleban out of their strongholds," Mr Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. "And our core objective - the reason we went to war in the first place - is now within reach: ensuring that Al-Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against America."

The comments came after Mr Obama wrapped up talks with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai, promising to speed up a transfer of lead security responsibility from Nato to Afghan forces this spring, in a sign that the pace of US troop withdrawal could quicken.

After meeting with Mr Karzai, Mr Obama said Nato forces would have a "very limited" role in the country after 2014 and insisted that Washington had achieved its prime goal of "decapitating" Al-Qaeda.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!