US sending delegation to Pak to mount pressure for action against Al-Qaeda, affiliates

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Washington, July 6 (ANI): A high-level US delegation would be arriving in Islamabad later this week to convince the Gilani government to take on the Al-Qaeda now as the terror organisation has been weakened significantly.

The delegation led by Daniel Benjamin, coordinator for counter-terrorism at the White House, would assert the Obama administration's views that Pakistan needs to increase pressure on extremists groups breeding on its soil with Al-Qaeda's assistance, The awn reports.

Newly appointed US commander in Afghanistan General David Petraeus has already highlighted that under attack from the allied forces for the past eight years, Al-Qaeda has been establishing new bases in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border, and recruiting new fighters.

"We cannot allow Al Qaeda or other transnational extremist elements to once again establish sanctuaries from which they can launch attacks on our homeland or on our allies," General Petraeus had said earlier,

US military and intelligence officials have identified groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (leT) and the Punjab Taliban as the latest Al Qaeda affiliates, which are not only creating trouble inside Pakistan, but also helping Al Qaeda launch operations in Afghanistan and outside the region.

"We cannot lose the momentum we have, together with our partners, allies and friends, worked so hard to achieve," US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen had said at a recent congressional briefing.

Speaking at a public forum last week, National Counter-terrorism Centre Director Michael Leiter had claimed that drone attacks and raids have devastated Al Qaeda because more than half of its leadership has been killed in these attacks.

"Now the organisation is down to only 50 to a 100 "card-carrying" members inside Afghanistan and roughly 300 operatives in Pakistan," Leiter had said. (ANI)

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