The New York Times is reporting that U.S. intelligence officials believe senior al-Qaida leaders operating from Pakistan have re-established a chain of command over their worldwide terror network.
The newspaper cites anonymous U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials, saying there is mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, have been building up operations in the mountainous Pakistani area of North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.
The Times quotes unnamed analysts who say groups of militants receive guidance from their commanders and Zawahri, and that bin Laden appears to have less direct involvement.
Until recently, U.S. intelligence assessments had described senior al-Qaida leaders as detached from active militants, only able to provide inspiration for future attacks.
A U.S. government official tells VOA that the United States and other governments have been aware of al-Qaida activities in the tribal regions along the Afghan-Pakistani border for some time, and that they are a matter of concern. The official said that efforts are ongoing to disrupt the terrorist network, and said al-Qaida does not have a safe haven in Pakistan.
Pakistani officials also say they are doing their best to gain control of the area.