Leadership: Al Qaeda Stays in the Mountains


September 27, 2006: Despite rumors that al Qaeda is moving its "headquarters operations" to Iraq, these terrorists are increasingly active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the winter of '05-'06 the leaders of the Taliban decided to adopt the suicide tactics that have long characterized Islamist radicalism in the Palestinian territories, Iraq, and elsewhere. This was a major policy shift for them, as they had hitherto condemned suicide tactics as "un-Islamic." As a result, whereas from the time the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was overthrown in late 2001 until the spring of 2006 there had hardly been a dozen suicide attacks in the country, there have been more than 70 since then. In a further shift in policy, there is some evidence suggesting that the Taliban will begin employing women as suicide bombers. All this was apparently because of al Qaeda influence, and offers to provide technical assistance.
After keeping a low profile in Afghanistan since the expulsion of the Taliban regime in 2001, al Qaeda has been rebuilding its networks in the southern and eastern regions of the country. Some districts along the Pakistani frontier are reportedly heavily infiltrated by al Qaeda veterans, some of whom serve as "terrorism advisors" to Taliban leaders.




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