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‘US within reach of defeating al Qaeda’

The US is within reach of achieving its core goal of defeating al Qaeda, a top official said.



Washington: The US is within reach of
achieving its core goal of defeating al Qaeda, a top official
told lawmakers on Tuesday, even as he conceded that the large
network of terror financing still remains a global challenge.

"The terrorist financing tale is far from over and
challenges remain. We are, as Secretary of Defence (Leon)
Panetta has said, within reach of achieving our core goal of
defeating al Qaeda, the only international terrorist group to
successfully conduct an attack on US soil," Daniel L Glaser,
the Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Terrorist Financing.

"With Osama Bin Laden`s death, al Qaeda has lost a
charismatic leader capable of raising funds and inspiring
recruits.

Already in difficult financial straits due to diminished
access to its traditional donor base in the Gulf, in
particular Saudi Arabia and the UAE, al Qaeda will come under
increasing financial pressure," he said, in his testimony
before the House Financial Services Committee`s sub-committee
on Oversight and Investigations.

"But other pillars of financial and logistical support
remain," he said.

"As our recent designation of six members of an
Iran-based al Qaeda financial facilitation networks
demonstrates, Iran has emerged as a vital facilitation conduit
for al Qaeda.

Its provision of safe havens to al Qaeda is offering
much needed breathing space for the group," he added.

Two members of this network are located in Kuwait and
Qatar, underscoring the need for these jurisdictions to do
more to crack down on domestic terrorist financiers and
facilitators.

The designation of now-deceased Atiyah Abd al-Rahman,
al Qaeda`s former overall commander in Pakistan`s tribal
areas, is another reminder of the permissive operating
environment al Qaeda enjoys in Pakistan, he said.

"Even as we make progress against core al Qaeda, we are
finding that, with the rise of al Qaeda affiliates, the
terrorist financing threat has metastasised and, in some ways,
become more intractable.

Today, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-
Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are among the most
dangerous and operationally active terrorist groups," Glaser
said.

"These affiliates rely on non-traditional sources of
funding, including criminal activity and, most notably,
kidnapping-for-ransom. Still other groups such as Al-Shabaab
and Hamas, which physically control territory, can tax ports,
businesses and local populations for revenue.

Attacking financial flows that largely avoid the
financial system (e.g.kidnapping-for-ransom) or are internally
derived (e.g. internal taxation) will require novel approaches
and new partnerships," he said.

PTI

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