Panetta Claims Al Qaeda And Taliban Weakest Since 9/11

by Daniel Russ on June 27, 2010

Leon Panetta, CIA Head

“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.”

Source: NYT

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?

Oy.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Corsair8X July 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm

It’s an outdated measuring device – strength vs weakness. What you have to look at instead is saturation. That is the true measure. Read up on Italy’s Comorra to understand. The wikipedia article will be all you need to get an understanding of just how the strength of an organization is essentially meaningless. You will get an understanding of just how resiliant they can be simply based on how much they have saturated the battlespace. This will also sadly demonstrate just how difficult it will be to cleans the area.

Daniel Russ July 5, 2010 at 6:10 am

yesterday Fareek Zakaria jumped on Leon Panetta for saying there are only 20 al quaeda left in Afghhanistan. He calculated then we are spending about a billion dollar per al quaeda member

it was a rare moment of actual journalism on CNN

Corsair8X July 5, 2010 at 10:11 am

I like Zakaria quite a lot actually.

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