“WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA Director Leon Panetta said Sunday that al-Qaida is probably at its weakest since the Sept. 11 attacks because of U.S.-led strikes, with only 50 to 100 militants operating inside Afghanistan and the rest hiding along Pakistan’s mountainous western border.
Panetta said the U.S. hasn’t had good intelligence on Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts for years and that the terrorist network is finding smarter ways to try to attack the United States.
Of greatest concern, he said, is al-Qaida’s reliance on operatives without previous records or those living in the U.S.
”We are engaged in the most aggressive operations in the history of the CIA in that part of the world, and the result is that we are disrupting their leadership,” Panetta told ABC’s ”This Week.”
The rare assessment from the nation’s spy chief comes as President Barack Obama builds up U.S. forces in Afghanistan to prop up the government and prevent al-Qaida from returning. About 98,000 U.S. troops will be in Afghanistan by fall.
Panetta initially said in the interview that the Taliban leadership was at its weakest point since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when it escaped from Afghanistan into Pakistan. He later corrected himself to say he was talking about al-Qaida.”
You know you have to wonder why we don’t ask more of our government than this pre chewed totally politicial answer. If the Taliban are at their weakest since 9/11, as Panetta asserts, then why are they now in control of Korengal valley in our own fortifications? Why are they still in Marja? By the end of 2004, we had driven them out of the Shah I Kot valley. How can they be at their weakest now?