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Defense Secretary Sees Progress in Fight Against Terrorism

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Department of Defense
Thursday, July 28, 2016

The battle against Islamic State terrorists won’t be won during the Obama administration, but the “clear and deliberate military campaign” backed by a global coalition is achieving results, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said July 27 in a talk with soldiers about to deploy in the war on terror. “We now have momentum in this fight, and clear results on the ground,” Carter said in remarks at Fort Bragg, N.C., where about 450 soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps are about to deploy to Kuwait.

The first objective of the more than two dozen countries is to “ensure we deliver ISIL the lasting defeat it deserves,” Carter said to the roughly 75 soldiers who gathered to hear his remarks. “You are joining an historic mission because never before in modern history have so many nations come together to confront an enemy like ISIL.”

The defense secretary pledged to “do everything I can to support you in that fight, and support your families at home.” Of military families, he said, “I know they serve too. Please thank them on my behalf, supporting you as you keep the country safe.”

The coalition of nations is “fighting together in different ways, across all domains, to destroy ISIL not only in its parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, but everywhere it has spread around the world,” Carter said, using the abbreviation for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant favored by the military for the terrorist movement.

Carter said the coalition is seeing results in Iraq, clearing Ramadi, establishing a staging base in Makhmur and seizing an airfield in Qayyarah West.

There are also good results in Syria, he said. "After seizing Shaddadi, the crucial junction on the road between Mosul and Raqqah, our partners on the ground have now surrounded Manbij City, one of the last junctions connecting Raqqah to the outside world, and a key transit point for external plotters threatening our homelands,” he said. “And there, we're already beginning to gain and exploit intelligence at helping us map their network of foreign fighters.”

“Those are real results. Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of our local partners and our service members, and additional coalition contributions, we've seized opportunities, reinforced success and taken the fight to the enemy,” Carter said.