The United States will keep applying the utmost pressure on al-Qaeda, even after its former leader Osama bin Laden was removed, according to comments made by U.S. President Barack Obama during a wide-ranging White House press conference.

The President said that US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan have helped to “severely cripple Al-Qaeda’s capacities,” and that the terror organization is “having a great deal of difficulty operating and financing themselves. We’ll keep the pressure on.”

Obama pointed out that “Osama bin Laden got the most attention, but before that we decimated some of the upper ranks of Al-Qaeda,” suggesting that operations against the group have been and will likely continue to be a long-term strategy in Washington.

Regarding the anticipated U.S. troop pullback from Afghanistan, Obama noted that such a thing will occur “in a responsible way that will allow Afghanistan to defend itself and will give us the operational capacity to continue to put pressure on Al-Qaeda until that network is entirely defeated.”

Obama added that it was crucial “to make sure that you did not have a collapse of Afghanistan in which extremist elements could flood the zone once again, and over time Al-Qaeda may inbound a position to rebuild itself.”

Despite yesterday’s deadly attack by Taliban insurgents on a Kabul luxury hotel, Obama insisted that the Afghan capital is “much safer than it was” – although he added more such attacks to continue for “some time.”

“Keep in mind, the drawdown has not begun, so we understand that Afghanistan is a dangerous place, and the Taliban is still active and there will be events like this on occasion,” Obama added.

“Kabul is much safer than it was, and Afghan forces in Kabul are much more capable than they were. That does not mean there will not be events like this taking place. That will go on for some time. Our work is not done.”