With 20 out of 30 prominent al Qaeda and Taliban operatives killed by the US drone strikes and other covert operations in the Af-Pak region, the terror network in Afghanistan has weakened and could justify an accelerated troops reduction, senior American officials have said.
Their confidence, these officials said, was buttressed by information found in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. They said the trove revealed disarray within al Qaeda’s leadership, with a frustrated Laden indicating he could no longer direct terrorist attacks by lieutenants who feared for their own lives, The New York Times reported.
According to the paper, the officials said that intense campaign of drone strikes and other covert operations in Pakistan, most significantly the raid that killed bin Laden had left al Qaeda paralysed, with its leaders either dead or pinned down in the frontier area near Afghanistan.
With the main focus on fighting the al Qaeda, the paper quoted the officials as saying that US President Barack Obama had sent 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan last year to reverse a Taliban insurgency that has become increasingly deadly since the 2001 US-led invasion that brought down their regime.