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Al-Qaida resurfacing, military official says

Wed., March 11, 2009

WASHINGTON – Al-Qaida has expanded its presence in Afghanistan, taking advantage of the sinking security situation to resurface in the country it was forced to flee seven years ago, the nation’s top military intelligence official testified Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, described al-Qaida’s efforts as part of a series of stability-threatening developments behind the Obama administration’s decision to order additional troops to the region.

Afghanistan is no longer the haven for al-Qaida that it was leading up to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But in Senate testimony, Maples said, “I believe al-Qaida’s presence in Afghanistan is more significant, although still at a relatively minor scale, than we have seen in the past.”

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