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Analysis: Al Qaeda down, though not out in Pakistan

Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:56am EDT

ISLAMABAD/DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) – When al Qaeda personality Abu Yahya al-Libi arrived in northwest Pakistan several years ago, he ordered so many honour that even some of a world’s many dangerous militants hold him in awe.

Already a fable in a murky universe of jihad for violation out of a high confidence U.S. jail in adjacent Afghanistan in 2005, he seemed to guarantee unconstrained funds, training and impulse for organisation who dreamed of unleashing destruction in New York or London.

By a time he was killed in a U.S. worker strike final week, he was a latest plant of a array of a unmanned aerial attacks that has dejected al Qaeda’s network along Pakistan’s limit with Afghanistan, Pakistani comprehension officials and commanders of belligerent groups said.

Its finances have dusty up, and those who once treasured a organisation consternation either it can survive.

“Imagine. They used to transport in Land Cruisers and double-cabin pickup trucks a few years ago,” pronounced a commander from a Pakistani Taliban, that is tighten to al Qaeda. “Now, they are roving motorcycles due to miss of resources.”

The rain of a network in a limit area started with a murdering of Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani city in May final year, and a postulated debate of worker attacks has serve enervated a group. Only about 8 hardcore al Qaeda leaders are still believed to be formed in a riotous borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan, compared with dozens a few years ago.

Current al Qaeda arch Ayman al-Zawahri is among those believed to be stealing in a area.

Many al Qaeda loyalists have sole their weapons or sought donations to account attempts to shun to their home countries, a Taliban commander added, vocalization in a write interview.

But a strike that killed Libyan minister Libi in North Waziristan, and other identical attacks on belligerent hideouts, have not finished a segment any safer. Several other armed groups overrun a area, and are not noticeably weaker.

While a aerial debate has enervated al Qaeda, a fan a Pakistani Taliban stays a frequency manly force notwithstanding a array of Pakistan army offensives opposite a strongholds in a northwest. Seen as a biggest confidence hazard to a U.S.-backed government, a Taliban is blamed for many of a self-murder bombings opposite Pakistan, and a series of high form attacks on troops and military facilities.

The Haqqani network, that is strongly associated to a Taliban in Afghanistan, also has bases in Pakistan’s northwestern badlands, according to U.S. officials. The organisation and Pakistani officials however repudiate they work from there.

For a United States, however, a leaders of al Qaeda, a organisation that was behind a 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, seem to be a primary target.

“We usually took down another personality in al Qaeda a other day,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told NATO army during a revisit to Kabul final week, referring to Libi, who was al Qaeda’s second in authority and tip strategist.

“The misfortune pursuit we can get these days is to be a emissary personality in al Qaeda, or for that matter, a leader,” he added, to laughter.


Residents in a area, Pakistani comprehension officers and former militants pronounced in interviews that a aerial descent has put al Qaeda commanders and fighters on a defensive, restricting their movements and their ability to forge closer alliances with other belligerent groups.

Financing was proof troublesome, given it is traditionally finished in income and in chairman to equivocate being tracked by a banking system.

Libi was one of a few al Qaeda leaders who kept adult personal contacts with commanders from other vital belligerent groups like a Pakistani Taliban.

He used his charisma, and certification as a theologian, to try and keep al Qaeda’s network total in a face of flourishing vigour from a remotely-piloted drones.

“Libi’s genocide is a vast blow to al Qaeda. It is now confronting critical financial problems in a Pakistani genealogical areas,” pronounced a Pakistani comprehension official, a perspective echoed by some diplomats in Islamabad.

“Sending and receiving income has spin really formidable for them given many of their channels have been close down or compromised. That is impacting their operations.”

Al Qaeda commanders who once seemed during training camps to motivate fighters are frequency seen, according to Taliban commanders and Pakistani comprehension officials.

“Most of them have left underground, stealing in bunkers and basements, avoiding hit with a outward world,” an comprehension central in a genealogical limit areas told Reuters.


One comparison Pakistani confidence central estimates there are usually about 8 core al Qaeda leaders left in Pakistan.

But that does not symbol a finish of al Qaeda’s care in a porous limit limit area between Pakistan and Afghanistan, that President Barack Obama once called a many dangerous place in a world.

“It would be a mistake for anyone to interpretation there is no one on a bench. It’s a thinning bench, though there are still bad guys, with bad aspirations in al Qaeda’s core organisation in Pakistan,’ pronounced a U.S. central in Washington.

“However, these people are not as able and don’t have a form or following in a wider nonconformist transformation that Abu Yahya or his prototype Abu Atiyah had.”

Much will count on either a United States can pull Pakistan to go after a remaining al Qaeda leaders, generally in North Waziristan, where Washington says some of al Qaeda’s many fatal allies are based.

But Pakistan is doubtful to dedicate itself to what could be a bloodbath, generally during a predicament in family with a United States that has been worsening given a uneven raid that killed bin Laden. Pakistan says a army is stretched fighting a Pakistani Taliban in other areas and it alone will confirm when to entirely take on groups in North Waziristan.

U.S. officials have pronounced a worker strikes, that irritate anti-American sentiment, will continue notwithstanding Pakistani final they cease. That could criticise team-work from Islamabad.

The comparison Pakistani confidence central concluded a remaining handful of core al Qaeda leaders left in Pakistan were many substantially stealing in North Waziristan.

It’s a tiny number. But removing to them and their friends, like a scandalous Haqqani network, won’t be easy.

Intelligence, especially, is tough to come by.

A few years ago, Pakistani Taliban fighters managed to lane down a vast series of genealogical informers for Pakistani comprehension in North Waziristan and slaughtered them.

“Many were killed and other people are too frightened to concur with comprehension agents. It will take a prolonged time to build adult a network again,” pronounced a confidence official.

Even if Pakistan decides to mountain a full-scale descent there, that might usually offer short-term solutions.

Conditions that multiply militancy are still developed in nuclear-armed Pakistan, and they won’t go divided until a supervision implements confidant reforms that strengthen a struggling economy.

More jobless immature organisation could spin to militancy, that gives them a clarity of energy by a AK-47 attack rifle. Suicide bomber vests offer a trail to paradise, they are told.

That summary is generally alluring in uncontrolled areas like North Waziristan, where some-more than 60 percent of a race is between a ages of 15-25, pursuit opportunities are probably non-existent, and a state has small control.

“Every day someone turns 18 in Pakistan,” pronounced a comparison Pakistani confidence official, referring to an ever-growing pool of probable recruits for a jihad.

(Additional stating by Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR, Phil Stewart in WASHINGTON, and William Maclean in London; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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