News

US Says Al-Qaida Still Greatest Threat to America

Multimedia

The United States says the al-Qaida terrorist group remains the greatest threat to America and its allies and is currently using Pakistan to rebuild its capabilities and plan attacks on Western nations. The State Department released its annual report on global terrorism Thursday.

The State Department's Acting Coordinator of Counterterrorism, Ronald Schlicher, says since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States al-Qaida and its allies have moved from Afghanistan into remote areas of the Pakistani frontier.

"And they are using, of course, that mountainous terrain as a safe haven where they can hide, where they can train, where they can communicate with their followers, where they can plot attacks and where they can make plans to send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan," said Ronald Schlicher.

The global terrorism report says the Taliban and other insurgent groups and criminal gangs control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan and are a threat to regional stability.

Ambassador Schlicher says, although still very dangerous, al-Qaida in Iraq is diminishing and has experienced significant defections.

"It has lost key mobilization areas," he said. "It has suffered disruption of support, infrastructure and funding and it has been forced to change its targeting priorities in some instances. The number of suicide bombings in Iraq, which we find to be a key indicator of the operational capability of the group, those numbers fell significantly in 2008."

The report credits local populations in places like Baghdad and Anbar province for turning against militants and cooperating with the Iraqi government and coalition forces.

Schlicher says an emerging hot spot for terrorism is Somalia, which he describes as a significant challenge for the United States and its allies.

"The international community is increasingly focused on the many dangers that develop in the absence of a place without any effective government control, such as Somalia, where of course we see such problems as terrorism, piracy, narcotics trafficking, human rights abuses and the development of ideological extremism," said Schlicher.

The report accuses Iran of being the most significant state sponsor of terrorism.  

Schlicher says the Quds Force (a special unit of Iran's Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) is supporting terrorist and Islamic militant groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

"The Quds Force is kind of an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and they are deeply involved in the really objectionable, terrorist activities in those places where Iran chooses to be active," he said. "The great area of concern, of course, is the Middle East itself."

The report says Iranian weapons transfers to the Taliban in Afghanistan are continuing to threaten Afghan and NATO troops and undermine stabilization efforts.

The terrorism report does note what it describes as significant achievements in the fight against extremists, including the capturing or killing of key terrorists in Pakistan, Iraq and Columbia.  

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs