Al Qaeda leaders under significant pressure: Pentagon official

Washington, June 13: Senior Al Qaeda leadership has come under “significant pressure” due to the ongoing military offensive by Pakistan Army against the Taliban in the Swat valley and adjoining western areas of the country, a Pentagon official has said.

As a result of the operations, it is increasingly becoming difficult for the top Al Qaeda leadership to move out of the area, the official said.

“The main concentration of al Qaeda’s senior leadership is in western Pakistan. They are under very significant pressure. The Pakistani operations in Swat have contributed to that pressure, and prospective operations in South Waziristan to follow will add to that,” the Defense Department official told reporters yesterday.

“For some time now, the Al Qaeda senior leadership and its network of trainers and its associated militants have been under substantial pressure,” the official asserted at a briefing on the current situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He said that given the past trend the Al Qaeda leadership would try to move out from here to some other areas.

“If you look at Al Qaeda’s major migrations over the past decade and a half, they got kicked out of Sudan in ’96; set up shop in Afghanistan, kicked out of there in 2001; went to the settled areas of Pak, had a number of senior leaders wrapped up; went to the tribal areas where they had prior relationship and remained ensconced, although are under enormous pressure,” official claimed.