Washington: Seeking "utter destruction" of al-Qaeda, the US has chalked out a strategy to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat the terror network and its core leadership in the Af-Pak region, where they have found a safe haven.

"We seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qaeda," John Brennan, the President's chief counter-terrorism adviser, said on Wednesday, laying out the Obama administration's plan to battle al-Qaeda in the era after Osama bin Laden.

A fact sheet on national counter-terrorism strategy issued by the White House said that its ultimate objective is clear and precise: "we will disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al-Qaeda, its leadership core in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, its affiliates and adherents to ensure the security of our citizens and interests."

"This strategy builds upon the progress we have made in the decade since 9/11, in partnership with Congress, to build our counter-terrorism and homeland security capacity as a nation. It neither represents a wholesale overhaul — nor a wholesale retention — of previous policies and strategies," the fact sheet said.

It said the "principal focus" of this counter-terrorism strategy is the network that poses the most direct and significant threat to the United States -- al-Qaeda, its affiliates and its adherents.

In his speech at the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Brennan said the US-Pakistan partnership is critical for success against al-Qaeda.

Militant organisations are "a real cancer" within Pakistan, which is facing a challenge to eradicate terror forces within its borders, Brennan said.

"My view is that there is a real cancer within Pakistan, from the standpoint of militant organisations," he said in response to a question.

"Whether you're talking about al-Qaeda, whether you're talking about the Pakistani Taliban or TTP, Haqqani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, others, there is I think a general recognition in the United States as well as throughout the world, that Pakistan has a real challenge ahead of it to uproot and eradicate the forces of militancy within Pakistan."

The top US counter-terrorism official said the Obama administration has a long-term goal in the Af-Pak area, which is to make sure that the US is able to maintain deep, strong and broad counter-terrorism ties with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said, as such, there is no alternative to continued engagement with Pakistan.

"In my mind, there's no alternative to us or to the Pakistanis to ensuring that we continue engaging with them."

Agencies