Washington: Ahead of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda, President Barack Obama on Friday said the US has delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a covert American raid in Pakistan on May 2, and declared that the terror network is on the path to defeat. (Agencies)
"The perpetrators of those (9/11) attacks wanted to terrorise us, but they are no match for our resilience. On Friday, our country is more secure and our enemies are weaker," Obama said in an op-ed published in 'USA Today’.
Yet while the US has "delivered justice to Osama bin Laden and put al-Qaeda on the path to defeat, we must never waver in the task of protecting our nation," the President wrote.
"On a day when others sought to destroy, we choose to build. Once again, September 11 will be a National Day of Service and Remembrance... every American can make a commitment to honour the victims and heroes of 9/11 by serving our neighbours and communities," he said.
Obama said like every American, he will never forget how he heard the terrible news, on the car radio on his way to work in Chicago 10 years ago.
"Yet like a lot of younger Americans, our daughters have no memory of that day. Malia was just 3; Sasha was an infant. As they've grown, Michelle and I faced the same challenge as other parents in deciding how to talk with our children about 9/11," he said.
"One of the things we've told them is that the worst terrorist attack in American history also brought out the best in our country. Firefighters, police and first responders rushed into danger to save others," Obama said.
Americans came together in candlelight vigils, in houses of worship and on the steps of the US Capitol, he recalled. Volunteers lined up to give blood and drove across the country to lend a hand.
Schoolchildren donated their savings, and communities, faith groups and businesses collected food and clothing, Obama noted.
"We were united, as Americans," he said, adding that the last decade has been nothing but a challenging one for the US.
"But we have also seen the strength of the United States - in cities that have refused to give in to fear; in communities that have persevered through hard economic times; and, above all, in our men and women in uniform and their families who have borne an extraordinary burden for our security and our values.
Meanwhile a top White House official said with Obama Administration focusing its resources on Afghanistan and Pakistan, nerve center of terrorism, al-Qaeda's leadership is being steadily taken off the battlefield.
"Now that we shifted those resources into Afghanistan and Pakistan under this Administration, we've been able to make significant progress against al-Qaeda's leadership," said Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Adviser.
"The bin Laden operation, I think, cemented a trend that was already apparent to the American people, which is that they saw that al-Qaeda's leadership was steadily being taken off the battlefield," Rhodes told reporters at the Washington Foreign Press Center.
"They saw significant losses for al-Qaeda because of the partnership, frankly, the United States has with both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and so that when bin Laden was taken off the battlefield, there was a gigantic and – both symbolic and operational victory for the US, and it also cemented a trend of leadership degradation that has continued even after the bin Laden operation," he said.
He gave the examples of al-Qaeda operative Atiayah being taken off the battlefield and that of the terror group's key commander Ilyas Kashmiri, killed in a drone attack.
He said Obama has been able to accomplish significant goals in reducing al-Qaeda leadership while also ending the war in Iraq at the same time, "which is of course very important to our broader interests and our desire to bring our troops home."
He said the strengthening of homeland security and intelligence sharing have prevented significant attacks on the US, launched out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other places abroad.
"I think, again, speaks to the fact that people have a great deal of confidence in the President's ability as commander-in-chief, and we feel we have amassed a very strong record in that regard, again, on offensive measures against al-Qaeda and our efforts to protect the homeland," he said.
Rhodes added, "So we believe it's a very strong record that President Obama has amassed.
"I think...American people are very satisfied with his leadership on counter-terrorism and homeland security, and we believe we're going to be able to carry that effort forward even as we continue to take precautions against terrorism."
Washington: Ahead of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda, President Barack Obama on Friday said the US has delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a covert American raid in Pakistan on May 2, and declared that the terror network is on the path to defeat.