US says it is capable of dealing with growing Al Qaeda - Pakistan Today

US says it is capable of dealing with growing Al Qaeda

KUALA LUMPUR: The US has the resources and allies needed to combat Al Qaeda as it expands beyond its base in Afghanistan and Pakistan to places like Yemen, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday.
Al Qaeda-affiliates in troubled states like Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere are proving a growing threat to the US and its allies, nine years after the Sept. 2001 attacks by Al Qaeda’s central leadership. Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has taken credit for last month’s failed parcel bomb plot against US targets and for an attempt to blow up a US passenger jet last Christmas.
“As we see an Al Qaeda spreading its tentacles in this way, the good news is we have some very strong partners that are working this problem because of their own self-interest,” Gates told reporters during a visit to Malaysia. “We’re not in this fight by ourselves… So I’m confident that we will have the resources and capability to continue to deal with it,” he said.
The US has already ramped up counter-terrorism assistance to Yemen to $155 million in fiscal year 2010, from just $4.6 million in 2006. US officials are also looking at additional ways to put pressure on militants, including enhanced training of Yemeni forces.
But analysts warn there are practical limitations on how much the US can do to assist deeply troubled states like Yemen, whose weak central government faces colossal economic problems and internal strife. The US is also stretched by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and is providing sizeable financial assistance to Pakistan. Gates, who has praised Yemeni government efforts against Al Qaeda, suggested allies would necessarily help bridge the gap.
“We have many allies that are helping us. Just pointing the Mahgreb, France is obviously very much involved,” Gates said, citing Al Qaeda’s north African arm. “And when we’re talking about Asia, this is one of the areas in which the United States and Malaysia have been cooperating,” he added, speaking at a news conference alongside Malaysia’s defence minister.

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