WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says America’s fight against al-Qaeda terrorists is taking a new direction — moving beyond declared war zones like Afghanistan and requiring more U.S. partnering with foreign commandos.
In a speech to a Washington think tank Tuesday, Panetta said al-Qaeda has been badly damaged by a decade of U.S.-led counterterrorism operations around the world. But he stressed that the group remains a threat.
To achieve what he calls “the beginning of the end” of al-Qaeda, Panetta says the U.S. will need to finish the war in Afghanistan in a way that prevents al-Qaeda from re-establishing major havens in that country. And, he says, the U.S. will have to keep pressure on al-Qaeda in Pakistan, while continuing to go after al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia.