1. Terrorism

    Al Qaeda’s Days Numbered

    This April 1998 file photo shows Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Federal authorities dropped terrorism charges against bin Laden in court papers filed Friday, June 17, 2011, formally ending a case against the slain al-Qaida leader that began with hopes of seeing him brought to justice in a civilian court. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan approved a request made by federal prosecutors to dismiss the charges — a procedural move that's routine when defendants under indictment die.

    AP Photo

    U.S. counterterrorism officials said Tuesday that al Qaeda may not last much longer, pushed to the brink of collapse by seven years of CIA drone strikes and the death of Osama bin Laden. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared during a recent visit to Afghanistan that “we’re within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda,” and other senior counterterrorism officials at the CIA have expressed similar views. They credit bin Laden’s death as a turning point, causing the end of the al Qaeda as “global, borderless, united jihad,” one official said. But despite these victories, officials have also warned that al Qaeda in Yemen is actually growing—in fact, on Tuesday, a 10-minute audio message was posted on Islamic websites Tuesday of al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate pledging loyalty to bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

    Read it at The Washington Post