Drones Eliminating al-Qaida Leaders in Pakistan

Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 11:22 AM

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The U.S. drone program targeting al-Qaida leaders has been so successful it is running out of targets. Ayman al-Zawahiri and his No. 2, Abu Yahya al-Libi, are the last remaining “high-value” targets in Pakistan, The Washington Post reported.

The success of the drone attacks have led al-Qaida in Pakistan to consider leaving the area, and the group’s weakened condition raises questions about whether the CIA should redeploy resources to other areas such as Yemen, where al-Qaida offshoots present a greater threat, the Post reported.

“Now is not the time to let up the pressure,” a U.S. official familiar with drone operations told the Post. “We’ve got an opportunity to keep them down, and letting up now could allow them to regenerate.”

Regardless, officials have been surprised at the shrinking of al-Qaida since the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“We have rendered the organization that brought us 9/11 operationally ineffective,” a senior U.S. counterterrorism official told the Post, adding that not much remains of their leadership.

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