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CIA chief says Qaeda on the run

world Updated: May 30, 2008 22:40 IST
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CIA Director Michael Hayden sees Al Qaeda as on the run in Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and losing support across the Muslim world.

After two full years on the job, Hayden, in an interview published in the Washington Post on Friday voiced concern that resolve against international terrorism is waning due to a sense of safety that has returned, nearly seven years after the attacks against New York and Washington that killed 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.

But the US-led effort against Osama bin Laden’s loosely-knit organisation is succeeding, Hayden said.

"On balance, we are doing pretty well," he told the Post.

"Near strategic defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for Al Qaeda globally — and here I’m going to use the word ‘ideologically’ — as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam."

US and other intelligence experts believe that bin Laden is most likely hiding in remote, mountainous areas along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But other top Al Qaeda operatives have been located and killed frequently by US military or intelligence forces.

"The ability to kill and capture key members of Al Qaeda continues, and keeps them off balance — even in their best safe haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border," Hayden said.