The U.S.-led strategy to degrade and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is working, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today, but emphasized that the fight against the terrorist group will be a “complicated, difficult contest.”
In an exchange with reporters at the Pentagon after meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo, Hagel said the administration has repeatedly made clear that the fight against ISIL will be a long, difficult effort.
“We believe that our strategy is working,” he said, while acknowledging that progress in Iraq is mixed.
“The reality is that ISIL has control and still does control a significant amount of ground in Iraq and I don’t think it’s any different from any complicated, difficult contest,” the secretary said.
With the U.S.-led coalition continuing to carry out airstrikes against ISIL targets, Hagel told reporters “there will be mixed and various outcomes daily,” but said he saw no reason for changing U.S. policy.
“We think it’s working,” he summed up.