The United Nations says global anti-terrorism efforts are succeeding. But, the organization's terrorist monitoring group says the al-Qaida terrorist network still poses a significant threat to international security.
The Security Council adopted a resolution in January setting up the monitoring group to assess measures taken against Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, the Taleban and associates. The measures include a freeze of financial assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo.
In a new report, the monitoring group says the arrests of senior al-Qaida members, including members of Osama bin Laden's original "command team," and the break up of cells in several nations have dented the network's operational capacity and provided critical intelligence information.
But the head of the monitoring group, Michael Chandler, says drug trafficking and fake charities continue to fund the network, despite intense international efforts to cut off its financing. He says recent bombings in Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, Morocco and Afghanistan demonstrate al-Qaida's reach.
"The network continues to recruit new adherents, receive funds, explosives and arms and is able to have some of its people move around and do what they want to do," he said.
Mr. Chandler says al-Qaida still has strong appeal among Islamic extremists and evidence indicates the terrorist network is building up support in some areas. More alarmingly, he says, is the rise of a third generation of al-Qaida followers who have no connection to Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
"Now we are seeing, as in the case in Morocco, where not one of the people who apparently was involved in the Morocco attacks has been anywhere near Afghanistan. And yet they are picking up with the same ideology and want to behave and operate the same sort of way," he said.
Mr. Chandler say no single nation can bring down the terrorist network on its own. Rather, he says, it must be done through international teamwork and a sustained effort. The monitoring group has asked all member states to put together a list of known terrorists. So far only 56 have complied.