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Monday, February 19, 2007

How ROBUST Al' Qaida Command and Control is??

Senior Al-Qaida leaders operating from Pakistan have re-established significant control over their once battered worldwide terror network and set up a band of training camps in the tribal regions near the Afghan border, counter-terrorism officials said.But no true evidence to supports this claim.

Also, there has been a alot of rumours that Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan.

Until recently, the Bush administration had described bin Laden and Zawahri as detached from their followers and cut off from operational control of Al-Qaida, the New York Times reported quoting US intelligence and the counter-terrorism officials.

The United States has also identified several new Al-Qaida compounds in North Waziristan, including one that officials said might be training operatives for strikes against targets beyond Afghanistan. And still yet no correct evidence on that yet

American analysts were quoted as saying that recent intelligence showed that the compounds functioned under a loose command structure and were operated by groups of Arab, Pakistani and Afghan militants allied with Al-Qaida. They receive guidance from their commanders and Zawahri, the analysts said. Bin Laden, who has long played less of an operational role, appears to have little direct involvement.

Officials told the paper that the training camps had yet to reach the size and level of sophistication of the Qaida camps established in Afghanistan under Taliban rule but groups of 10 to 20 men are being trained at the camps and the Qaida infrastructure in the region is gradually becoming more mature.

The concern about a resurgent Al-Qaida has been the subject of intensive discussion at high levels of the Bush administration and has reignited debate about how to address Pakistan's role as a haven for militants without undermining the government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Officials from several different American intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies presented a consistent picture in describing the developments as a major setback to American efforts against Al-Qaida.

But debates within the administration about how best to deal with the threat have yet to yield any good solutions, the Times said quoting officials in Washington. One counter-terrorism official said that some within the Pentagon were advocating American strikes against the camps, but that others argued that any raids could result in civilian casualties.

State Department officials say increased American pressure could undermine Musharraf's government.

As recently as 2005, the paper noted American intelligence assessments described senior leaders of Al-Qaida as cut off from their foot soldiers and able only to provide inspiration for future attacks.

But more recent intelligence describes the organization's hierarchy as intact and strengthening.

"The chain of command has been re-established," said one American government official, who said that the Qaida leadership command and control is "robust".

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