Al-Qaeda Growing In Strength
Salon is reporting that elements of al-Qaeda have reorganized and are growing in strength.
The news is alarming. U.S. and French intelligence agencies are convinced that terrorist network al-Qaida has reorganized and, what’s more, developed new training camps in both Afghanistan and the remote tribal regions of northern Pakistan. They believe that a new generation of terrorists has come of age, and some are suspected of planning attacks in the West.
Five and a half years have passed since Sept. 11, 2001, and the beginning of the war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The physical presence of Osama bin Laden’s network was largely destroyed at the time — the terrorist camps, which had trained an estimated 20,000 men, quickly reduced to rubble. Two years ago, the White House crowed that two-thirds of al-Qaida’s leadership had been eliminated. “We’re winning,” President Bush claimed recently. “Al-Qaida is on the run.”
But are those terrorists really on the run? Of course, there can be no doubt that the network no longer has nearly the capacity it had when it organized the 9/11 attacks. But the attempts to reorganize are obvious, and the new camps are an indication that the efforts have been successful. According to Time magazine, each of the camps has the capacity to train between 10 and 300 jihadists. “We know they exist, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” the magazine quotes a U.S. military official in Afghanistan as saying.
While it’s true that al-Qaeda does not appear to have the financial or manpower strength that it did before 9/11, the fact that al-Qaeda is resurging at all is a testimony to the ongoing setbacks that we are facing in Afghanistan, especially when you couple this with the fact that the Taliban is gaining in strength, as well.