Al-Qaeda in Deep Quagmire: US

By Zaheerul Hassan

U.S. President Barack Obama stated in Capitol at the annual address to Congress that about 23 thousand U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the summer of 2012, U.S. He said that ten thousand of our soldiers have already returned home. Another 23 000 troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of summer. Handover of power to Afghan forces will continue and we will develop partnership with this country that will never be the base for attacks on America. US is also ready to release five famous Taliban leaders now.

On January 2012, French President Nicolas Sarkozy also revealed that their troops will start handing over security to the Afghan army in March and focus on training until pulling out of Afghanistan completely at the end of 2013. Sarkozy suspended training and support operations on the ground last week and sent his defence minister and armed forces chief to Kabul after four of their soldiers were killed by a rogue Afghan soldier. It is notable that Paris has 3,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of the 130,000-strong NATO-led force. French troops mainly patrol Kapisa, a mountainous province near Kabul.

In news U.S. also endorsed the endorsement of opening of Taliban office in Qatar. Taliban are also ready to carry out negotiation with Afghanistan in Saudi Arabia. All stated above have become true as result of assassination of Osama Bin Laden. His killing tends to close Al-Qaeda’s chapter of militancy and terrorism in Pakistan. Demise of top leadership has pushed the outfit in a deep quagmire since the new leader Ayman Al-Zawahri is not deemed competent enough to lead the group aptly. Besides, revelation by media reports have affirmed that Pakistan military operations and US drone strikes have mounted immense pressure on Al-Qaeda elements in Pakistan which are now compelled to look for safe havens in other countries especially Middle Eastern and North African countries. Al-Qaeda leftovers have also realized that it is becoming riskier than ever to infiltrate and remain in Pakistan tribal areas where their security is under enormous peril hence are gradually shifting their focus to somewhat safer bastions in Yemen, Libya and Somalia. Moreso, quiescent deportment of the outfit on Pakistan related issues somewhat is a lucid indication of its diverted focus.

Killing of the highly significant skipper not only delivered a big psychological blow to Al-Qaeda but had worst practical impact on the group that has been operating tactically under his command for years. The terrorist network already had suffered heavy blows with the deaths and arrests of dozens of its top leaders that drastically perturbed the organization’s survivability and weakened its hierarchical command structure in the region. Resultantly, Al-Qaeda has lost its potency and relevance that has propelled the network in tatters. Since then, Al-Qaeda leaders tried to capitalize on the killing of Osama Bin Laden by provoking the masses against Pakistani security forces yet diminishing leadership and demoralized workforce could not materialize the plans of revenge attacks in the country or elsewhere in the world.

Triumphant security forces’ operations in tribal areas are one of the eminent reasons behind Al-Qaeda’s decline which not only brought exemplary defeat for its associates but also forced them to vacate the area. Pakistani security agencies extended remarkable services to ensure the capture or killing of Al-Qaeda’s elements to dent the strength of the outfit in Pakistan. The organization’s ability to plan large scale operations has also crumbled as its main funding streams have been successfully disbanded. Pakistani forces’ crackdown on militants also helped in reducing cross-border militant infiltration from Afghanistan to the Pakistani tribal areas. In addition, locals in the tribal areas have strongly rejected the presence of Al-Qaeda operatives in their areas rather they overwhelmingly endorse the measures taken for the elimination of militancy. Hence, terrorists are facing major problems in recruiting Muslims youth. They are also confronted with immense financial crises since people have started to look at them as mere criminals and are no more willing to fund the terrorists’ activities on the pretext of so-called Jihad in Pakistan.

The indulgence of outfit in the trivial activities like abductions of insignificant and unconcerned persons yet again reflects its disconcerted state and incapability of new leadership. In fact, unlike Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahri doesn’t have the charisma and the vision to run the terrorist organization. It has also been learnt through several intelligence reports that Al-Qaeda foot soldiers are no more ready to abide by the instructions of new leadership since they also doubt the credibility and capability of Ayman Al Zawahri. Death of Anwar Awlaki has also served a severe blow to Al-Qaeda’s media campaign as he was considered as the only capable propagandist who played an imperative role in luring in Muslim youth through internet. Consequently, vivid decline in the ferocity of recruitment campaign of Al-Qaeda is quite perceptible.

Although, Al-Qaeda leadership is now focusing to other regions of the world, especially the Arab countries, yet it has very bleak chances to obtain any success in the near future. Since during revolutions in Arab counties, youth did not support Al-Qaeda’s campaigns against western domination but actually strived against the dictatorships in their own countries. This whole episode largely left Al-Qaeda on the sidelines even in the Arab countries where once it enjoyed a considerable support in the form of funds and recruits.

The fight against the most notorious terrorist organization appears to be advancing towards success in the region. The people in Pakistan now fully comprehend the conditions and circumstances in which Jihad becomes obligatory. Fastly eroding public support and well-targeted operations by Pakistani security forces against Al-Qaeda’s few remnants in the tribal belt can surely help in the complete elimination of the terrorist outfit and guarantee a new era of peace and stability, not only in Pakistan but in the entire South Asia region.

In short, global war would be going to end by 2014 leaving behind miseries like killing of millions of innocent people and wastage of billions of dollars. Pakistan has also lost the lives of over 4000 soldiers, 30,000 civilians apart from loss of 80 billions in this so called war against terrorism. Anyhow for permanent peace main players of the war have to ensure construction of Afghanistan and FATA area of Pakistan and diminishing of Indian covert roles i.e. espionage and fomenting militancy in neighbouring countries.

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