US, Pakistani Attacks Have Rattled Al-Qaeda: Analysts

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2009 3:27 PM CDT
In this photo taken Wednesday, May 27, 2009, destruction caused by fighting is seen in Mingora, capital of Pakistan's troubled Swat Valle.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Recent US and Pakistani efforts have rattled al-Qaeda, intelligence officials tell the Washington Post, with unmanned drones having killed about half of the US’ 20 “high-value” al-Qaeda targets since last fall. Combined with Pakistan’s offensive against its Taliban allies in the Swat region, the terror group’s position in Pakistan’s mountains looks much more vulnerable. But the strikes have also killed civilians, stoking anti-American sentiment.

Gen. David Petraeus wrote last week that the attacks “severely challenged” efforts to improve US-Pakistan relations. The strikes have continued at the same rate under President Obama as under President Bush—4-5 per month—though in recent weeks civilian casualties have diminished thanks to improved intelligence from Pakistani ground troops.