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“From a terrorism perspective in Afghanistan, probably our biggest concern are the number of — and a small number, but a number of — core al Qaeda individuals who are in Afghanistan,” said Matthew Olsen.

Al Qaeda “over the longer term, may seek to provide a basis to sort of reconstitute some degree of capability there,” he said. “So there are individuals in particularly Nuristan in northeastern Afghanistan who are connected to core al Qaeda.”

The main terrorism threat in Afghanistan remains the Taliban Islamic movement, as well as the Haqqanni Network.

Contrary to comments in 2012 by President Obama that al Qaeda is “on the path to defeat,” Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper revealed to Congress last week that al Qaeda has 12 operational centers, compared to the one in Afghanistan at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Contact Bill Gertz at @BillGertz.