Al Qaeda decline after bin Laden's death hard to reverse: report


Supporters of hard line pro-Taliban party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Nazaryati (JUI-N) carry portraits of the slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as they gather during an anti-US rally in Quetta on May 2, 2012 on the first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden.



Osama bin Laden's death set the core of Al Qaeda on a "path of decline," according to a new report released by the US State Department on Tuesday. The report warned, however, that Al Qaeda's affiliates were a rising threat in vulnerable areas, Agence France Presse reported.

In the Country Reports on Terrorism 2011, the department named Iran the "world's leading sponsor of terrorist activity," which provided funds and support "for terrorist and militant groups throughout the Middle East.

"The loss of bin Laden and these other key operatives puts the network on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse," the report said, according to Reuters. It said that terrorist attacks had fallen to their lowest level since 2005.

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Other top Al Qaeda members were killed last year including Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, reportedly Al Qaeda's No. 2 figure, and Anwar al-Awlaki.

"As Al Qaeda's core has gotten weaker, we have seen the rise of affiliated groups around the world. Among these Al Qaeda affiliates, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) represents a particularly serious threat," the report said, according to CNN.

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The report said AQAP was exploiting unrest and had its coffers filled in 2011 from kidnapping ransoms, according to AFP.

The report warned that affiliates "have shown resilience; retain the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks; and, thus, constitute an enduring and serious threat to our national security."

According to the report, terrorist attacks worldwide fell from 11,641 in 2010 to 10,283 last year. Fatalities fell from 13,193 in 2010 to 12,533 last year.