The Long War’s Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn round up the latest on the group behind the 9/11 attacks:
In Afghanistan, al Qaeda remains closely allied with the Taliban and is participating in the Taliban-led insurgency’s advances throughout the country. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri has sworn allegiance to the Taliban’s new emir, Mullah Mansour, who publicly accepted Zawahiri’s oath of loyalty in August. Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters are playing a key role in the Taliban’s offensive, with the Taliban-al Qaeda axis overrunning approximately 40 of Afghanistan’s 398 districts this year alone. This is part of the reason that President Obama decided to leave a small contingent of American forces in Afghanistan past his term in office.
To give you a sense of what al Qaeda is really doing in Afghanistan, consider that U.S. forces led raids against two large training facilities in the country’s south in October. One of the camps was approximately 30 square miles in size. Gen. John F. Campbell, who oversees the war effort in Afghanistan, explained that the camp was run by al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and is “probably the largest training camp-type facility that we have seen in 14 years of war.”
Think about that: U.S. officials just discovered what is probably the largest al Qaeda camp since 2001. Al Qaeda hasn’t been neutralized in Afghanistan. In fact, numerous al Qaeda leaders have relocated into the country.
In addition to Afghanistan, al Qaeda has expanded operations and cooperation with local terrorist and rebel outfits in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, North and West Africa, and has “a guerrilla army totaling tens of thousands of fighters across a large geographic expanse.”
Keep all this in mind when you read or hear White House claims that al Qaeda has been “decimated” or is “on the run.” The fact is that AQ is in a stronger position most everywhere than it was on January 20, 2009. Or as Sultan Knish wrote a few days ago, “Obama doesn’t win wars. He lies about them.”
(H/T on the Knish link to Glenn.)