14 Nov 2010

West cannot defeat al-Qaeda

5:24 pm on 14 November 2010

The head of the UK's armed forces has said al-Qaeda cannot be defeated and Britain must be prepared to deal with the threat of Islamist attacks for at least another 30 years.

General Sir David Richards made the comments in an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

He questioned whether it was necessary to try to achieve a clear-cut victory over Islamist militancy and argued that this would never be achieved.

But General Richards added that it can be contained to the point that our lives and our children's lives can be lead securely.

The BBC reports that five years ago the admission that al-Qaeda's forces cannot be defeated would have been labelled outrageous and defeatist, but it says that General Richards comments reflect a new realism in UK and US counter-terrorism circles.