Al Qaeda still a real threat to US: Panetta

Panetta says US forces have 'undermined their leadership significantly.'

Afp January 26, 2012

WASHINGTON: Despite the killings of Osama bin Laden and radical US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the al Qaeda terror network remains a "real threat to the United States," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a TV interview late Wednesday.

CBS News released excerpts of an interview with Panetta scheduled to run Sunday, in which the Pentagon chief discusses US strategy to disband al Qaeda's global networks.

"We're going after al Qaeda, wherever they're at," Panetta told CBS in the interview excerpt.

"And clearly, we're confronting al Qaeda in Pakistan. We're confronting the nodes of al Qaeda in Yemen, in Somalia, in North Africa. ... and obviously whatever al Qaeda links are involved in Afghanistan," he said.

Have US forces have defeated al Qaeda?

"Not yet," Panetta said. "They're still a real threat. There's still al Qaeda out there. And we've got to continue to put pressure on them wherever they're at."

Panetta however said that US forces have "undermined their leadership significantly."

Of the network's 10 main leaders listed after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, only one is still alive: Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over after bin Laden was shot dead in a dramatic US commando raid in Pakistan in May.

In the past year, eight of al Qaeda's top 20 leaders were eliminated, most by missiles fired from US drones operating under an expanded covert warfare effort launched by President Barack Obama after taking office in January 2009.

Those killed include Awlaki, slain in Yemen in a US drone strike on September 30.

Former CIA chief Panetta took over as defense secretary in July, replacing Robert Gates, a holdover from the presidency of George W. Bush.


Dr Jamil Chaudri | 9 years ago | Reply

Then it must be true that China feels existential threat from Monaco, Nauru, Tuvalu, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Seychelles, Maldives, Malta, Grenada, Andorra and Palau. Poor Chine. Having to live with such wild-warrior nations. These wild-warrior nations are frightening the Chinese so much that they are researching ways of leaving the earth, and settling on the moon. First manned flight is planned for 2025-2030. I request the UN to stop these Wild-Warrior from TERRORISING China

hamzad | 9 years ago | Reply

United Satans of America is a threat to the entire world..and NOT al-qaueda ( if such an outfit ever existed anyway)....The fifth column in Pakistan is the westoxicated scum in Pakistan..the secularoon, liberaloon, and the murtadoons.

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