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From Lalit K Jha Washington, May 24 (PTI) US President Barack Obama has defended the use of drones as a "just war" of self-defence against terrorist as he outlined the future of his counter-terrorism policies. Obama justified the use of unmanned armed aircrafts, popularly known as drones, as "legal" a highly "effective" tool to target high value terrorist targets, indicating that his administration would continue to use it as a key asset in war against terrorism. Speaking at the National Defense University here yesterday, Obama also reiterated his commitment to close down the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, arguing that this has become a symbol around the world that America flouts the rule of law. Obama\'s major policy speech on counter-terrorism issues in his second term was disturbed by a protester calling for immediate closure of Guantanamo prison. Obama asserted that United States respects the sovereignty of other countries, noting that a commando operation like the one that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden cannot be a norm. "Our operation in Pakistan against Osama bin Laden cannot be the norm. The risks in that case were immense. The likelihood of capture, although that was our preference, was remote, given the certainty that our folks would confront resistance," Obama said. "The fact that we did not find ourselves confronted with civilian casualties or embroiled in a extended firefight was a testament to the meticulous planning and professionalism of our special forces, but it also depended on some luck. And it was supported by massive infrastructure in Afghanistan," he said. Obama said that civilian casualties from drone strikes "haunt" him, but added that risk must be balanced against the threat from terrorist groups that are specifically targeting civilians. "Doing nothing is not an option," he said.(More) PTI LKJ BOD

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