Though attention has largely shifted away from the parent organization and toward al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has managed to take over a couple of towns in war-torn southwestern Yemen, State Department officials say al-Qaeda itself shouldn’t be forgotten.
“Although the AQ core is clearly weaker, it retains the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks from Pakistan,” noted State Department official Shari Villarosa in testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Villarosa also used the occasion to reiterate long-standing US demands for Pakistan to “take action” against al-Qaeda. Pakistani officials have made several conflicting statements about US demands to attack North Waziristan, declaring the start to it and then backing off that claim.
Of course, al-Qaeda’s parent organization remains in turmoil since the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden early last month. Still, the organization’s reputation will likely ensure it remains active in recruiting going forward.