Thursday, April 12, 2007

Al Qaeda Resurgent

Spiegel Online:
The news is alarming. US and French intelligence agencies are convinced that terrorist network Al-Qaida has reorganized, and even that it has developed new training camps, both in 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, with 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," US President George W. Bush claimed recently. "Al-Qaida is on the run."

But are they 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 9/11. 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 US military official in Afghanistan as saying.

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