Who is winning?

Andrew Apostolou:

". . .On September 10, 2001, al Qaeda had operatives all over the world. Their largest ever attack was about to happen and had been planned in Afghanistan and Germany, in Malaysia and the U.S. Al Qaeda's network, fed with Gulf money, was run from a seemingly impregnable base in Afghanistan, a base which although theoretically isolated could be easily accessed from neighboring Pakistan. The regime in charge of Afghanistan, the Taliban, was in al Qaeda's pocket. The regime in charge in Pakistan was not unsympathetic.

"Today, some of al Qaeda's top operatives are in prison or dead, others are on the run and finding it hard to control, influence, or even contact their colleagues. Their Taliban allies are now an insurgent force, hiding with bin Laden in Pakistan or along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It would be better if Osama bin Laden were now dead or in U.S. custody. The fact that he is in Waziristan or Baluchistan is, however, preferable to him holding court in Kandahar.

". . .it appears that bin Laden remains a poor strategist. The al Qaeda attacks in Riyadh in May were a political blunder. They forced the Saudi government to start taking its head out of the sand and start tackling the terrorism that lurks within its own borders.

". . .Al Qaeda now has a new front: Iraq. That al Qaeda is willing to fight the U.S. in Iraq could prove to be another bin Laden mistake, on condition that the U.S. does not cut and run. The whole point of terrorism is to avoid engaging conventional forces, which for terrorists is too risky and often costly. With that in mind, bin Laden should be conserving his reduced resources for attacks on soft diplomatic and civilian targets in Europe and the U.S. Instead, he is wasting them in targeting U.S. troops."

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