London: Osama bin Laden`s terror network al Qaeda has withered and is reeling under "crisis" which has affected its ability to find "willing fighters" to carry out operations in western countries, experts said on Friday.
Government and independent experts monitoring the organisation told The Guardian on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the organisation faced a "crisis affecting its ability to find, inspire and train willing fighters."
Its activity is increasingly dispersed to "affiliates" or "franchises" in Yemen and north Africa, but the links of regional jihadi groups to the centre are tenuous. They enjoy little popular support and successes have been limited, the report said.
Lethal strikes by CIA drones, especially in Pakistan`s tribal areas, including two this week alone, have combined with the monitoring and disruption of electronic communications, suspicion and low morale, to take their toll on al Qaeda`s Pakistan-based "core”.
"Core" al Qaeda is now reduced to a senior leadership of six to eight men, including Bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the report said. In all there are
200 operatives who mattered.