Af-Pak region remains nerve centre of al-Qaeda: US | world | Hindustan Times
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Af-Pak region remains nerve centre of al-Qaeda: US

Despite its alarming expansion in countries like Yemen and Somalia, al-Qaeda and its leaders remain in the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan making it their nerve centre, Obama Administration's top counter-terrorism official said on Thursday.

world Updated: Jan 21, 2010 13:31 IST

Despite its alarming expansion in countries like Yemen and Somalia, al-Qaeda and its leaders remain in the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan making it their nerve centre, Obama Administration's top counter-terrorism official said on Thursday.

"Al-Qaeda, the beating heart of the global network remains located in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region," Garry Reid, Deputy Assistant Defence Secretary for Special Operation and Combating Terrorism, told US lawmakers.

"The President has made clear that the mission of the United States in Afghanistan-Pakistan is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda and prevent its return to both countries," he said.

Despite the setbacks al-Qaeda has suffered, the Taliban and other extremist groups continue to provide it with support and it thus remains a capable and dangerous enemy, Reid noted.

"Hence, the critical importance of our military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan," he told members of the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

"A key element of these efforts against al Qaeda would be the significant expansion of our support for Pakistan and its people. Our assistance will demonstrate the United States commitment to addressing problems that affect the everyday lives of Pakistanis and bolster Pakistan against the threat of extremism," he said.