To stamp out Al Qaeda is top priority: Obama


New York : US president-elect Barack Obama has said that uprooting the global terrorist network of the Al Qaeda and capturing its leader Osama bin Laden would be the top priority of his administration when he enters the White House in January.

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“I think it is a top priority for us to stamp out Al Qaeda once and for all. I think capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out Al Qaeda,” Obama told the CBS News in an interview.

Osama bin Laden, the most wanted terrorist of the world, Obama said is more than just a symbol. “He is also the operational leader of an organisation that is planning attacks against US targets,” the president-elect said in response to a question on Al Qaeda.

During his election campaign, Obama had been advocating the policy of a unilateral US strike inside Pakistani territories if the US has actionable intelligence on bin Laden.

Obama said his administration would start redeployment of troops from Iraq as soon as possible – a promise he made during his election campaign.

“As soon as I take office, I will call in the joint chiefs of staff, my national security apparatus, and we will start executing a plan that draws down our troops. Particularly in light of the problems that we’re having in Afghanistan, which has continued to worsen. We’ve got to shore up those efforts,” he said.

Reiterating his statements of election campaign days, Obama indicated that instead of Iraq, Afghanistan would be his focus, which he believes is the nerve centre of terrorism.