Al-Qaeda free to tighten its grip on Africa
Just when we think we have one network of al-Qaeda terrorists on the run, up pops another one to take its place and resume the relentless campaign of terror against the West and its allies.
The forthcoming withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan is based on the assumption that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, the original casus belli for military intervention, has been dismantled and no longer threatens our security. It is, of course, entirely feasible that the remnants of the organisation currently being run by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who replaced bin Laden as al-Qaeda’s leader in May 2011, might be able to regroup once Nato’s Afghan mission is over, especially if, as seems likely, no political settlement with the Taliban is forthcoming by the time our troops pack up and return home at the end of 2014.
But, in the meantime, rather than waiting for events to turn in its favour in Afghanistan, the al-Qaeda brand is busily extending its franchise to other parts of the Muslim world where weak or dysfunctional governments allow it the space and opportunity to pursue its nefarious designs. (...)