A US intelligence report prepared for Congress shows how a concerted military effort to uproot al Qaeda from FATA has weakened the group, the US blames for the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"In Pakistan's tribal areas, al Qaeda lost significant parts of its command structure since 2008 in a succession of blows as damaging to the group as any since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001," the Dawn quoted the report, as saying.
"Sustained pressure against al Qaeda in FATA has the potential to further degrade its organisational cohesion and diminish the threat it poses."
Exploring the possibility that the losses sustained since 2008 could force aAl Qaeda to vacate FATA, the report notes: "It is conceivable al Qaeda could relocate elsewhere in South Asia, the Gulf, or parts of Africa."
The terrorist group would look for a place where it could "exploit a weak central government and close proximity to established recruitment, fundraising, and facilitation networks," the report adds.
"But we judge none of these locations would be as conducive to their operational needs as their location in Fata."
The US intelligence community also points out that if forced to vacate FATA and locate elsewhere, al Qaeda would be vulnerable to US or host-country security crackdowns as well as local resistance.
It probably would be forced to adopt an even more dispersed, clandestine structure, making training and operational coordination more difficult. (ANI)