Washington : US President Barack Obama said the mission in Afghanistan was “a war of necessity” as Al Qaeda was still plotting against the US.
However, he said the Iraq mission — which he has repeatedly criticised as “a war of choice” — will end in 2011.
Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, Arizona, Monday, Obama said that in Afghanistan the US was pitted against an enemy that would not be easily defeated.
“We must never forget. This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity,” he said of the Afghan mission.
The president added: “Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.
“So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defence of our people.”
During his election campaign, Obama had promised to assess the Afghan strategy and increase troop deployments. He had also promised to end the US mission in Iraq within 16 months of coming to power.
Obama told the war veterans that the Iraq mission will definitely end in 2011. “And for America, the Iraq war will end,” he said.