Al Qaeda’s Global Base Is Pakistan, Says Petraeus


YOCHI J. DREAZEN
The Wall Street Journal
May 11, 2009

WASHINGTON — Senior leaders of al Qaeda are using sanctuaries in Pakistan’s lawless frontier regions to plan new terror attacks and funnel money, manpower and guidance to affiliates around the world, according to a top American military commander.

[efoods]Gen. David Petraeus, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in an interview that Pakistan has become the nerve center of al Qaeda’s global operations, allowing the terror group to re-establish its organizational structure and build stronger ties to al Qaeda offshoots in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and parts of Europe.

The comments underscore a growing U.S. belief that Pakistan has displaced Afghanistan as al Qaeda’s main stronghold. “It is the headquarters of the al Qaeda senior leadership,” said the general, who took the helm of the military’s Central Command last fall.

In the interview, Gen. Petraeus also warned of difficult months ahead in Afghanistan, saying Taliban militants are moving weapons and forces into areas where the U.S. is adding troops, planning a “surge” of their own to counter the U.S. plan.

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