Al Qaeda Getting Stronger
Al Qaeda is getting stronger, mostly in Pakistan, a new State Department report states.
Al-Qaida has rebuilt some of its pre-Sept. 11 capabilities from remote hiding places in Pakistan, leading to a jump in attacks last year in that country and neighboring Afghanistan, the Bush administration said Wednesday.
Attacks in Pakistan doubled between 2006 and 2007 and the number of fatalities quadrupled, the State Department said in its annual terrorism report. In Afghanistan, the number of attacks rose 16 percent, to 1,127 incidents last year. The report says attacks in Iraq dipped slightly between 2006 and 2007, but they still accounted for 60 percent of worldwide terrorism fatalities, including 17 of the 19 Americans who were killed in attacks last year. The other two were killed in Afghanistan.
In Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, al-Qaida and its affiliates remain “the greatest terrorist threat to the United States and its partners” despite ongoing efforts to combat followers of Osama bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to the report. It says Zawahiri has emerged as the group’s “strategic and operational planner.”
“It has reconstituted some of its pre-9/11 operational capabilities through the exploitation of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, replacement of captured or killed operational lieutenants, and the restoration of some central control by its top leadership, in particular Ayman al-Zawahiri,” it says.
[State Department counter terrorism coordinator Dell] Dailey, however, stressed that al-Qaida is still weaker overall than it was before Sept. 11, 2001.
Well, that’s a relief. But shouldn’t al Qaeda be getting progressively weaker? We’ve been fighting them on multiple fronts for over six years, after all.