Weaker Al-Qaida Still Plots Payback For US Raid

By: AP
By: AP
al Qaida leader  Osama Bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in mountains of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan Thursday, Dec. 24, 1998.  The man accused of masterminding the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa says the U.S.-British airstrikes on Iraq make it a ``duty of Muslims to confront, fight and kill'' Americans and Britons. (AP Photo/Rahimullah Yousafzai)

al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in mountains of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan Thursday, Dec. 24, 1998. The man accused of masterminding the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa says the U.S.-British airstrikes on Iraq make it a ``duty of Muslims to confront, fight and kill'' Americans and Britons. (AP Photo/Rahimullah Yousafzai)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A year after the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida is hobbled and hunted. Officials say it's too busy surviving to carry out another Sept. 11-style attack on U.S. soil.

But the terrorist network dreams of payback, and U.S. counterterrorist officials warn that, in time, its offshoots may deliver.

A decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has forced al-Qaida's affiliates to regroup, from Yemen to Iraq. And bin Laden's No. 2 man is thought to be hiding in Pakistan's mountains.

Seth Jones, an analyst and adviser to U.S. special operations forces, calls it "wishful thinking" to say al-Qaida is on the brink of defeat.

Officials say new al-Qaida branches are hitting Western targets and U.S. allies overseas, and still aspire to match their parent organization's 9/11 milestone.


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