Al Qaeda’s Days Numbered

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.