Al Qaeda has safe havens in region: US
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Although Al Qaeda’s core in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been seriously degraded, its global leadership continued to operate from its safe haven in the region, a US report on counterterrorism said on Wednesday.
These alliances continue to provide the group with additional resources and capabilities. In 2013, terrorists in South Asia carried out operations in heavily populated areas and continued to target government representatives.
On numerous occasions, civilians throughout South Asia were wounded or killed in terrorist events, the report said. “Afghanistan, in particular, continued to experience aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Taliban, HQN and other insurgent and terrorist groups.”
A number of these attacks were planned and launched from safe havens in Pakistan, the report said. Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are providing security across as the transition to full Afghan leadership continues in anticipation of the 2014 drawdown of foreign forces.
Pakistan continued to experience significant terrorist violence, including sectarian attacks, the report said, adding the military undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks such as TTP, but did not take action against other outfits such as Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT).
“Afghan Taliban and HQN leadership and facilitation networks continued to find safe haven in Pakistan, and Pakistani authorities did not take significant military or law enforcement action against these groups,” the report said.
Although responsibility for security in Afghanistan has transitioned from US and international forces to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the US remains committed to continued political, diplomatic, and economic engagement in Afghanistan as a strategic partner.
“US forces retain the capacity to conduct counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan, but increasingly these operations were being carried out in conjunction with Afghan units or solely by Afghan units,” it said.
The Afghan government’s response to the increase in insider attacks in 2012 led to new procedures to vet and train security force personnel, which likely contributed to a dramatic reduction in the number of such assaults in 2013, the State Department said.
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