Washington: The killing of Osama bin Laden
and several other key al Qaeda militants is a major setback
for the terror network in Pakistan, but it is going to be "a
many-year effort" before the outfit is defeated, a top White
House official has said.
"These are individuals that were determined to carry out
an attack against Western interests, including in the homeland
here. Taking them off of the battlefield, capture, and their
deaths, has really set al Qaeda core - the senior leadership
of al Qaeda in Pakistan - back significantly," John Brennan,
the top counter-terrorism advisor to the US President Barack
"Well, you have al Qaeda core, which is the senior
leadership, which is in the FATA area of Pakistan, which
really has taken it on the chin significantly as a result of
our and Pakistani efforts. That has been degraded
significantly over the past couple of years," Brennan said in
an interview on the PBS NEWSHOUR.
But he noted that other al Qaeda affiliates still pose
"But you have other al Qaeda elements: Al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula, which is mainly in Yemen right now; you
have al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which is the Sahel area
of Africa; al Qaeda in Iraq," he said.
"And so these franchises are active. They're carrying out
attacks against locals - the Yemenis, you know, the Iraqis and
others. And, also, there are elements that are trying to carry
out attacks against us - American interests in those countries
as well as to try to do things in the homeland here," he said.
"So those franchises are active and to - we have al Qaeda
core on the ropes, but that doesn't mean that these other
elements are not able and determined to carry out an attack.
And - you know, we - yes, we are concerned about what they
might try to do," Brennan said.
Brennan said defeating the phenomenon of terrorism that
al Qaeda manifests and represents, is going to be "a many-year
"So we cannot relent. We cannot, even with the death of
bin Laden - and if we get Zawahiri and others, that is not
reason for us to relax," he said.
"There is a core of these extremists that have this
distorted concept of Islam and are determined to carry out
attacks in the name of Islam. They're murderers, and we need
to do everything possible to eliminate the threat that they
pose to us, but also work with the countries overseas to make
sure that they build the institutions as well as provide
for their people, you know, the opportunities that will make
the terrorists' ideology blatantly bankrupt," he said.
First Published: Thursday, September 08, 2011, 16:36