Secretary of State John Kerry claimed on Thursday that the U.S. has “neutralize[d]” al-Qaida leadership “as an effective force,” a bold claim that came just hours before terrorists affiliated with the al-Qaida group Al-Mourabitoun claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in Mali.
An estimated 27 people were killed at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali’s capital. Another 170 are reportedly being held hostage.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Kerry discussed the ongoing fight against ISIS and said that he believes the terrorist group will be defeated sooner rather than later.
“We always said it will take time. We began our fight against al-Qaida in 2001, and it took us quite a few years before we were able to eliminate Osama bin Laden and the top leadership and neutralize them as an effective force,” Kerry said.
“We hope to do Daesh much faster than that, and we think we have an ability to do that,” added Kerry, who is one of the few in the Obama administration who calls ISIS “Daesh.”
Kerry’s poorly-timed statement comes a week after President Obama made a similarly bold claim about ISIS, which was spawned by al-Qaida in Iraq.
In an interview taped last Thursday, Obama claimed that ISIS had been “contained.” Yet hours later, a group of ISIS terrorists attacked a soccer stadium in Paris, a restaurant and a concert venue, killing 130.