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'Al Qaeda under fantastic pressure'

world Updated: Mar 15, 2010 09:00 IST
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Having lost about a dozen of its top 20 leaders, Al Qaeda is under fantastic pressure, the Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has said.

"They are under fantastic pressure. You know, recently their external operations chief was eliminated. They have lost about 10 to 12 of their top 20 people in the last year or so," Holbrooke said in an interview.

"It looks like they are less an organisation that plans operations now than an organisation that summons people to aspirational jihad," Holbrooke said, adding that Al Qaeda in a sense has blown it.

"Their excessive brutality, the backlash against things, like the bombing of the wedding in Jordan, the beheading of people, the videotape in Swat of the flogging of the young girl, has created a revulsion against them.

And although there are still these terrible incidents like the Jordanian doctor who blew himself and eight CIA people up in eastern Afghanistan and other similar events, that they maybe they're losing their ideological appeal because it's such a nonsensical thing they're doing," Holbrooke said.

"It's pure nihilism. They stand for absolutely nothing except destruction, and they destroy people's lives in a random and insane way," he said.