Is Al Qaeda terrorist group still a threat?
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Affected Countries: united-states;
Nineteen years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, does al Qaeda still pose a significant threat to U.S. national security? Among researchers, military and intelligence officials, and policymakers who study the group, there is little consensus.
But very few experts on Salafi-jihadi movements would dismiss the group outright. So when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confidently declared in a March interview on Fox & Friends that “al Qaeda is a shadow of its former self,” we were startled and concerned.
By portraying al Qaeda as more of a nuisance than a threat, Pompeo helped President Donald Trump’s administration make the case for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan and making peace with the Taliban.
Unfortunately, politically motivated threat assessments can be very dangerous, and Pompeo’s characterization of al Qaeda reflects wishful thinking at best and naiveté at worst. The United States must trade its rose-tinted glasses for a sober assessment of al Qaeda’s trajectory—and of the organization’s enduring ties to the Taliban.