Helene Cooper
Jakarta Globe
May 7, 2009

Confronting a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the United States was deeply committed to helping the two countries defeat Al Qaeda and its extremist partners and in helping democracy endure and flourish.

[efoods]“No matter what happens, we will not be deterred,’’ Obama said during an appearance in the White House grand foyer after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. “Every day, we see evidence of the future that Al Qaeda and its allies offer. It’s a future filled with violence and despair.’’

Obama’s remarks came as the deaths of dozens of Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan, from what Afghan officials and villagers said were American airstrikes, served as a reminder that deep problems in the region extend beyond Pakistan, the most recent American focus.

The three-way meeting with Zardari and Karzai was intended by the White House, in part, to pressure both men to do more to crack down on the rising threat from the Taliban and Al Qaeda in both countries.

“We meet today as three sovereign nations joined by a common goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and its extremist allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan and to prevent their ability to operate in either country in the future,’’ Obama said.

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