Al Qaeda core weakened, claims White House
WASHINGTON (PAN): The core of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is considerably weakened, but several of its affiliates have gained strength, the Obama administration said on Monday, amidst a new terrorist threat to the US from the region.
“Al Qaeda core is Afghanistan Pakistan-based -- the central organizational core of Al Qaeda, once headed by Osama bin Laden. There is no question over the past several years Al Qaeda core has been greatly diminished, not least because of the elimination of Osama bin Laden,” the White House press secretary said.
Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference Al Qaeda and affiliated organisations represented a continued threat to the United States, its allies and the Americans stationed abroad and at home. For that reason, the US has focused a great deal of attention on the Al Qaeda affiliates.
Over the past several years that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is of particular concern and has demonstrated both an interest in and a willingness to attempt serious attacks on the US and its allies and citizens.
“The threat that we've made public in recent days reflects the fact that we are vigilant about the willingness of AQAP and other affiliated organisations to take action against us and against our allies and our people. And we are taking all the precautions we can as we gather more information,” he said.
The United States, he added, had a continuing threat from Al Qaeda, and in particular some of its affiliates that have sprung up in the last decade. President Obama had been trying to make sure that that the threat to the US was countered, the official said.
Carney continued that was why he refocused attention on Al Qaeda in the Af-Pak region and on the effort in Afghanistan, because that war was launched, justifiably, in response to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, said the threat from the region remained. “The threat’s not gone, certainly, but it is a shadow of what it once was, particularly before 9/11,” she told a separate news conference.
“That’s why we’re going to keep up the pressure on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But we’ve also been clear that much of their leadership has been decimated, has been taken off the battlefield, and that we are going to both keep up the pressure there but also maintain our focus on al-Qaida affiliates wherever they operate throughout the world,” she said.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.