Al-Qaeda 'Decimated' in Pakistan: US Officials

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2009 8:09 AM CST
A Pakistani soldier identifies target coordinates as artillery fires toward militant positions in the Bajur tribal region on the border with Afghanistan, Pakistan, on Friday, Nov. 28, 2008.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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(Newser) – CIA-directed air raids into Pakistan have “decimated” al-Qaeda’s senior leadership, killing up to a dozen high-level targets, senior US military officials tell NPR. They say a “complete al-Qaeda defeat” there is now entirely possible. “The enemy is really, really struggling,” says one official. “These attacks have produced the broadest, deepest, and most rapid reduction in al-Qaeda senior leadership that we’ve seen in several years.”

Officials caution that it is too early to declare victory, with some 100 al-Qaeda training “graduates” loose and unaccounted for. But “we know how bad this is for them,” says one official. “We see al-Qaeda guessing, trying to figure out how this is happening, and they haven’t figured it out yet.” The officials credit improved intelligence, particularly “human penetration” into al-Qaeda, with the strikes’ success.