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Secretary of Defense warns 'we must not rest' until ISIS is defeated

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Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, shakes hands with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at a meeting of defense ministers and senior leaders from the coalition to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant at Joint Base Andrews, Md., July 20, 2016. DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met with allied leaders Wednesday at Joint Base Andrews warning them that "we must not rest" until Islamic State is defeated. 

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"Thanks to this global coalition, our clear and deliberate campaign plan, our dedicated local partner forces, and the sacrifices of our militaries' members, we now have momentum in this fight and clear results on the ground," said Carter.

Carter, who was addressing 30 leaders and defense ministers from around the world, noted financial support and resources were vital to defeating the Islamic State group. 

"We'll make the plans and the commitments that will help us deliver ISIL the lasting defeat it deserves," he said. "We're going to destroy the fact and the idea of an Islamic state based on ISIL's barbaric ideology." 

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Air strike in Syria. AP photo

Carter said the current military campaign has three main objectives:

--  Destroy the "ISIL parent tumor in Iraq and Syria." 

-- Destroy Islamic State everywhere they emerge in the world.

--Most importantly, protect our homelands.

The world leaders are gathering in Washington D.C. for two days of discussions. U.S. officials are hopeful this will lead to more coalition support for combating ISIS globally.

"We must ensure that our partners on the ground have what they need to win the fight and then hold, rebuild, and govern their territory," said Carter. "This last point - the need to ensure that our economic and political campaigns do not lag behind our military progress - is critical and a significant strategic priority." 

French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian, whose nation has suffered multiple attacks at the hands of Islamic State terrorists,  also attended the private meeting and is expected to convene with State Department officials tomorrow. 

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Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook, photo courtesy of Defense Department

Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement Wednesday that the defense secretary "offered his deepest condolences to the French people and government in the wake of last week's barbaric attack in Nice." 


The meeting comes as Iraqi forces and coalition partners prepare to take on ISIS in their stronghold of Mosul, where the terrorist group has stockpiled its resources and strengthened fighters over the past year. Further exacerbating the problem is the droves of families trying to escape the ongoing battle and the battles yet to come. 

At a separate conference, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the aim is to raise $2 billion in aid to stabilize areas already liberated from the Islamic State group. He warned that without the funding, Iraq would face daunting humanitarian challenges in the future. 

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