Al Qaeda leader admits terror network facing pressure from drone hits in Pakistan

January 27th, 2011 - 5:00 pm ICT by ANI  

Al-Qaida Quetta, Jan 27(ANI): Al-Qaida’s terror network is losing territory and fighters amid a US drone strike campaign in Pakistan, according to an al Qaeda leader’s audio message monitored by a US organisation that tracks militant propaganda.

Ustadh Ahmad Farooq, al-Qaeda’s head of media and preaching in Pakistan, made the rare admission at a time when the CIA has escalated its drone hits against al-Qaida and Taliban targets in Pakistan’s tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan.

The US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks militant websites and other media, said the recording was released by Al-Sahab, al-Qaida’s media arm, NPR reported.

As part of a broader lecture on the need to keep faith in God during times of crisis, Farooq spoke of the challenges facing al-Qaida in vague terms. According to SITE, the 28-minute speech- in which Farooq spoke in Urdu, Pakistan’s most widely understood language- was released on jihadi forums on January 23.

“There were many areas where we once had freedom, but now they have been lost,” he said.

“We are the ones that are losing people, we are the ones facing shortages of resources. Our land is shrinking and drones are flying in the sky,” he added.

Pakistan’s border region along Afghanistan is believed to shelter top al-Qaida leaders including its chief, Osama bin Laden, and his deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahri. Several other al-Qaida linked groups also congregate in the region, from where they devise attacks against the Pakistani state, targets in the West and US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the report said.

Under US pressure, the Pakistan army has carried out offensives against militants in many parts of the area since 2009, while the United States has launched a blistering campaign of missiles from unmanned drones.

The covert, CIA-run program launched around 115 attacks last year in Pakistan, more than double the previous year. The strikes have continued at a similar pace this year, and nearly all have hit the North Waziristan tribal region. (ANI)

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