President Bush says the United States is making progress in the global war on terrorism but he says there will still be difficult days ahead. Mr. Bush, who meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday, used his weekly radio address to praise the progress that has been made in that country.
The President said Saturday that Afghanistan has made "remarkable progress" in the three years since the United States and its allies ousted the radical Islamic Taleban regime from power.
The country now has a constitution and has held one presidential election. Afghan voters will return to the polls this September to elect provincial councils in the lower house of the National Assembly.
Mr. Bush, who meets with President Karzai at the White House Monday, says the United States will continue to support Afghanistan in the months and years ahead.
"We're helping Afghanistan's elected government solidify these democratic gains and deliver real change," the president said. "A nation that once knew only the terror of the Taleban is now seeing a rebirth of freedom, and we will help them succeed."
The President also used his weekly radio address to highlight several recent successes in the global war on terror.
"In Afghanistan, we have brought to justice dozens of terrorists and insurgents," he said. "In Pakistan, one of Osama bin Laden's senior terrorist leaders, a man named Al-Libbi, was brought to justice. In Iraq, we captured two deputies of the terrorist Zarqawi, and our forces have killed or captured hundreds of terrorists and insurgents near the Syrian border."
Mr. Bush acknowledged that there will still be what he called "some difficult days" ahead, but he said the United States would maintain its current strategy: fighting terrorists abroad so as not to fight them on U.S. soil. According to the President, this will require revamping the U.S. military so that it is "faster, more agile and more lethal."
"To deal with the emerging threats of the 21st century, we are building a military that can deploy rapidly and deliver more fire power with fewer forward deployed forces," Mr. Bush said.
The president said that as the United States continues to support democratic change throughout the world, the U.S. government must do whatever it takes to support American forces. Mr. Bush said he would outline his vision of the 21st century military next Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy, when he is scheduled to give the commencement speech.