Pakistan: US Strikes Boost Local Qaeda Threat

But attacks are cutting fighters' global abilities
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 25, 2009 12:26 PM CST
Pakistani tribal people pray next to the coffins of people allegedly killed by a suspected U.S. missile attack, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009.   (AP Photo/Hasbanullah Khan)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – US drone strikes are heightening al-Qaeda’s threat to Pakistan, even as the attacks hurt the organization's ability to coordinate on a global scale, Pakistani officials say. The strikes have helped decentralize the group, but pockets focused on local jihad are fighting back. The officials also worry that an upcoming US troop surge in Afghanistan could drive more Qaeda fighters into Pakistan, the New York Times reports.

As al-Qaeda leaders are killed, younger recruits keen to attack nearby targets replace them, the intelligence officials noted. Meanwhile, Qaeda members are channeling more funds to the Taliban, a group they see as key to the protection of their strongholds. US officials backed the strikes. “There’s real value in keeping them off balance in the tribal areas. They come to doubt their security, their hosts, even each other,” said one.