- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2011

In the remote Korengal region along Afghanistan’s northeastern border, al Qaeda insurgents and jihadists in Osama bin Laden’s network are slowly returning after having been routed by a U.S.-led invasion nine years ago. A new training camp was discovered last September by coalition forces and attacked by U.S. aircraft, killing dozens of al Qaeda, including one Saudi and one Kuwaiti senior member, along with one of the most wanted militants in Saudi Arabia.

The veteran jihadists had come to northeastern Afghanistan to train a new generation of Afghan and foreign terrorists after the U.S. pullback from large parts of the area 18 months ago. During the past seven months, al Qaeda reportedly has started to set up hide-outs, operating bases and training camps in the rugged area, which had been considered strategically irrelevant and left to uneven supervision by the Afghan army.

It was expected by some coalition commanders that once U.S. forces departed, Taliban and foreign insurgents would go, too. Instead, the Taliban have stayed put, and al Qaeda is coming back. According to reports from our Marines and soldiers, we are winning decisively but we do not have enough troops to completely defeat the insurgency because of open borders with Iran and Pakistan.

Last year, after repeated delays, the Obama administration sent 30,000 troops instead of the 80,000 reinforcements requested by U.S. commanders, allowing increasing cross-border operations by Iran and al Qaeda in anticipation of the announced U.S. withdrawals.


U.S. Marines Corps (retired)


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