New York, Dec.3 (ANI): Intelligence officials have disputed suggestions that President Obama is sending 30,000 more troops to fight 100 Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, arguing that their influence with the Taliban makes them far more harmful than their numbers would indicate.
Responding to an ABC News story that referred to the intelligence community estimate on the number of Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan as "Obama's secret," and something he deliberately omitted mentioning in his speech Tuesday night, Fox News quoted officials as describing it as an irresponsible assessment.
While intelligence officials confirmed that only about 100 Al Qaeda operatives remain in Afghanistan and their "center of gravity" is in Pakistan, they said "their leadership works tightly with leaders of the Afghan Taliban."
The Taliban follow a brutal version of strict Wahhabi Islamic law, banning all "un-Islamic" activity and committing numerous human rights violations, including restricting all freedom for women.
Al Qaeda's goal to divorce all Muslim countries from foreign influence would be warmly received by a Taliban-led government in Afghanistan, as was the case in the 1990s.
Top officials on Wednesday defended Obama's surge decision, arguing that the U.S. military needs to take on the Taliban as a way to keep Afghanistan from falling into hands that Al Qaeda can exploit. (ANI)