Al-Qaeda weakened but can still launch attacks
WASHINGTON (PAN): The core of Al-Qaeda might have been weakened by the killing of its top leadership, but it still had the ability to inspire, plot and launch terrorist attacks from its safe havens in western Pakistan, a US report said on Thursday.
“The Al-Qaeda core still has the ability to inspire, plot and launch regional and transnational attacks from its safe haven in Pakistan, despite its leadership losses,” the State Department said in a new report.
Submitted to Congress, the Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 said the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Tehrik--i-Taliban Pakistan and other like-minded groups continued to conduct operations against US, Coalition, Afghan, and Pakistani interests from safe havens on both sides of the border.
The Al-Qaeda core in Pakistan continued to weaken, it added. As a result of leadership losses, the group's ability of direct activities and attacks had diminished, as its leaders focussed increasingly on survival, it said.
Under the direction of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the terrorist outfit had been significantly degraded as a result of ongoing worldwide efforts against the organisation, the document maintained.
“Osama bin Laden’s death was the most important milestone in the fight against Al-Qaeda, but there have been other successes – dozens of senior Al-Qaeda leaders have been removed from the fight in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region,” it continued.
Ilyas Kashmiri, one of the most capable Al-Qaeda operatives in South Asia, and Atiya Abdul Rahman, the group's second-in-command, were killed in Pakistan in 2011.
Other Al-Qaeda leaders Abu Yahya Al-Libi and Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti were killed in 2012. As a result of these leadership losses, the organisation's ability to direct the activities and attacks of its affiliates had diminished, the State Department said.
Afghanistan in particular continued to experience aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network and other Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, the report explained.
“A number of these attacks were planned and launched from the groups’ safe havens in Pakistan. Afghan forces are now providing security throughout most of Afghanistan as transition to full Afghan leadership continues in anticipation of the 2014 withdrawal of US and Coalition forces,” it said.
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