A top US intelligence officer has claimed that the al-Qaeda has succeeded in "recruiting, training and positioning" terrorists for attacks against the West, including America, from its sanctuary in Pakistan and has formed groups which were previously focused on Kashmir.
The new assessment is seen as an update from a National Intelligence Estimate issued a year ago, which said al-Qaeda was seeking to deploy agents trained to carry out operations in the West.
Al-Qaeda is identifying, training and positioning operatives for attacks in the West, including in the US. These operatives include North American and European citizens and legal residents with passports that allow them to travel to the United States without an American visa," said Ted Gistaro, National Intelligence Officer for Transnational Threats in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Al-Qaeda's ability to establish and manage links to other affiliated terrorist groups and facilitation networks is a key indicator of its organisational health. These links help bolster its operational and propaganda reach," Gistaro said.
Since early 2006, Pakistani militant groups have increased their collaboration with al-Qaeda. This includes ethnic Pashtun groups native to the tribal areas and groups from eastern Pakistan, most of whom previously focused on attacking Kashmir in India.
While a major focus of these groups is conducting attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan, they provide safe haven to al-Qaeda fighters, collaborate on attacks inside Pakistan, and support al-Qaeda's external operations, including against the West," the intelligence officer said at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.