ABC News’ Jake Tapper, Karen Travers and Kirit Radia report:
Calling the situation in Afghanistan "increasingly perilous," President Barack Obama today announced an increase in U.S. forces in Afghanistan and said the United States and its allies must embrace a singular mission in the region: to "disrupt, dismantle, and defeat" al Qaeda and destroy its safe haven in the region.
President Barack Obama announces a new comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Friday, March 27, 2009, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington.
"That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you," Obama said.
The president announced that he’s sending 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, outlined benchmarks to measure progress and detailed new diplomatic efforts and more civilian aid to further development efforts in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In outlining his administration’s new strategy for the region, Obama said that for six years Afghanistan has been "denied the resources that it demands" because of the focus on the war in Iraq.
"To focus on the greatest threat to our people, America must no longer deny resources to Afghanistan because of the war in Iraq. To enhance the military, governance and economic capacity of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we have to marshal international support. And to defeat an enemy that heeds no borders or laws of war, we must recognize the fundamental connection between the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan," Obama said.
Obama was flanked by his national security team for the announcement, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen, and Richard Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The president’s National Security Adviser, Gen. James Jones (Ret.), also stood on stage, along with former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, who chaired the president’s interagency review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the audience were Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of Central Command; Army Lt. Gen. Eikenberry, ambassador to Afghanistan-designate; and members of the U.S. military and diplomatic corps and USAID who will soon be sent to the region.
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