US counterterrorism officials have claimed Al-Qaeda, once the most formidable terrorist group in the world, has been reduced to two main figures. Ayman al Zawahiri and his second in command, Abu Yahya al Libi, a religious scholar who escaped from the U.S. prison at Bagram air base in 2005 are believed to be its last “high value” targets. The capture of these two commanders is expected to effectively end the group’s operation and result in its defeat.
According to reports, AL Qaeda’s support is limited to Pakistan and Yemen. CIA Director David H. Petraeus has sustained drone attacks in the tribal belt of Pakistan to further weaken the network; “Now is not the time to let up the pressure,” said a U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We’ve got an opportunity to keep them down, and letting up now could allow them to regenerate,” he said.