WASHINGTON: Al Qaeda’s core leadership in Pakistan remains the most formidable terrorist threat to the US homeland, while al Qaeda’s growing presence across Africa challenges many states, the US State Department said on Thursday.
Terrorist attacks worldwide and their death toll in 2009 were at their lowest levels in some four years, according to the US State Department’s annual “Country Reports on Terrorism” publication. Terrorists carried out 10,999 attacks worldwide in 2009, killing 14,971, it said.
Al Qaeda, the group behind the Sept 11 attacks, “has proven to be an adaptable and resilient terrorist group whose desire to attack the United States and US interests abroad remains strong,” it said.
Afghanistan’s Taliban-led insurgency, which got funding and training from al Qaeda, “remained resilient in the south and east and expanded its presence into the north and west” and retained an undiminished ability to recruit Pakhtun foot soldiers, it said.
Iran, one of four countries designated state sponsors of terrorism, provided backing for extremists in its region that “had a direct impact on international efforts to promote peace, threatened economic stability in the Gulf, jeopardised the tenuous peace in southern Lebanon, and undermined the growth of democracy,” the State Department said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2010.
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