Envoy: U.S. teamwork with other nations key to fighting terrorism

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Tina Kaidanow said Monday that the key to fighting terrorism is to build more partnerships with countries around the globe. | Courtesy of the U.S. State Department

Fighting terrorism globally requires partnerships with other countries, Tina Kaidanow, U.S. ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism, said on Monday.

Kaidanow said terrorist group Al-Qaeda's power has diminished in recent years through loss of leadership. However, other groups are taking up the same cause as Al-Qaeda, and some pose a significant threat, Kaidanow said.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been “hugely destructive” in Iraq and Syria, Kaidanow said.

“The emergence of these more radical and violent groups is, in most cases, associated with a loss of effective government control, as in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Somalia,” Kaidanow said. “Groups that have become active in these areas are mainly localized, but some pose a threat to Western interests in Europe and in the United States, and we take these security concerns very seriously."

Kaidanow said developing more partnerships to combat the terrorist groups is vital in the counterterrorism fight. She said more than 60 partners are contributing in anti-ISIL efforts to stop the group's mobilization, interrupt its financial resources, “counteract ISIL's messaging and undermine its appeal.”

Kaidanow said the U.S. can partner with others, both governmental and nongovernmental. Kaidanow added partnerships are broken down into five different groups of countries.

The United Kingdom, France and Australia are countries in the first group and have proven capable of responding to terrorist threats. The second group is made up of regional countries or institutions, such as AMISOM from East Africa, which have the ability to fill gaps that individual countries can't.

The third group is made up of countries such as Niger, Chad, Oman, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Mauritania, which have “the political will to work with us,” but need more resources to combat threats.

The fourth group includes countries that may have different definitions of terrorism, or have even exacerbated terrorist threats. Kaidanow said it is still vital that the U.S. reach out and attempt to work with these countries.

The final group includes countries such as Russia and China, in which cooperation hasn't been consistent over time. Developing a more stable partnership with them is the ultimate goal.

“The foreign-terrorist-fighters issue reminds us that building partnerships is just the means to an end, not an end in itself,” Kaidanow said. “Moving toward a model where we have a broad range of capable governmental, nongovernmental and institutional partners will aid us in comprehensively degrading the threats and, perhaps even more critically, getting ahead of the curve on curbing the growth of violent extremism."