Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the U.S. still needs to fight Al Qaeda even if its leader Osama bin Laden was already killed.
Speaking at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank, Panetta said Tuesday that Washington also needs diplomatic effort aside from military force to once and for all dismantle the terrorist network.
“The United States needs to stay involved and invested through diplomacy, development, education, and trade in those regions of the world where violent extremism has flourished,” AFP quoted the secretary as saying. “‘We must sustain and in some areas deepen our engagement in the world — our military, intelligence, diplomatic and development efforts. And over time, we also must address the religious, economic, and cultural differences that create tension and are exploited by extremists.”
Panetta warned that a cut in Pentagon’s budget could adversely impact on its campaign against Al Qaeda overseas. He also warned that gains made in the fight against the group may be lost and make the U.S. less safe in the future.