Washington: The original al Qaeda, based out of the tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, is a shadow of its past in terms of its capabilities to strike against the US, but many of its affiliates across the globe in particular the AQAP in the Arabian Peninsula have gained strength and now pose more threat to America, officials said.
"As al-Qaeda core has been diminished through the efforts of the United States and our allies, affiliate organisations, including in particular al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have strengthened," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.
"There is no question over the past several years, al Qaeda core has been greatly diminished, not least because of the elimination of Osama bin Laden. What is also true is that al Qaeda and affiliated organisations represent a continued threat to the US, to our allies, to Americans stationed abroad, as well as Americans here at home," he said.
"And for that reason, we have focused a great deal of attention on those affiliated organisations and we have made clear over the past several years that AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is of particular concern and has demonstrated both an interest in and a willingness to attempt serious attacks on the US, our allies, and our people," he said.
"Any evaluation of the actions that we`ve taken in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliated organisations over the last several years and over the life of this administration demonstrates a pretty intense focus on the fight against al-Qaida and the effort to degrade al Qaida`s abilities and all the abilities of all the affiliated organisations," Carney said.
The US, he said, faces an ongoing threat from al Qaeda and its affiliates.
"There are individuals and organisations out there that are focused on doing the United States and the American people harm, as well as doing harm to our people," he said.
The current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organisations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond. The information suggests that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August, Carney said.
"We`ve been clear that there`s still a threat there. That`s why we`re going to keep up the pressure on al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said.
"But we have also been clear that much of their leadership has been decimated, has been taken off the battlefield, and that we are going to both keep up the pressure there but also maintain our focus on al-Qaida affiliates wherever they operate throughout the world.
So the threat`s not gone, certainly, but it is a shadow of what it once was, particularly before 9/11," Harf said in response to a question.