Musharraf: Al Qaeda 'On The Run'

CBS affiliate KXJB couldn't have done more to help ensure a successful giveaway. CBS/Jack Halsbond

Pakistan's president is convinced that the al Qaeda terrorist organization, with so many of its leaders either captured, killed or on the run in the wake of Sept. 11, has lost its effectiveness.

President Pervez Musharraf, attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, spoke with CBS News correspondent Tom Fenton about the terror group.

"I don't think they are an effective organization," Musharraf told Fenton. "They are on the run.

"To be effective, an organization needs good command and control, I don't think they have that," he added.

While conceding to Fenton that he didn't know for sure where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was, he reflected on his military experience (Musharraf is Pakistan's Chief of Army staff and a career military man) to speculate that Osama's probably in the frontier territories along the Pakistani and Afghan border.

But, he said there was "no possibility" of a large contingent of American troops entering Pakistan to search for bin Laden, adding that it was "a very sensitive subject."

Musharraf's comments come just days after a U.S. official said the al Qaeda terror network was under "catastrophic stress" but still posed a threat.

Cofer Black, the U.S. ambassador at large for counterterrorism, said some two-thirds of the al Qaeda leadership have been detained or put out of action since the Sept. 11 attacks — a claim also made by President Bush in Tuesday's State of the Union address.

Black told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that al Qaeda has been significantly weakened.

"The al Qaeda of the 9-11 period is under catastrophic stress. They are being hunted down, their days are numbered," he said in an interview recorded in Washington.

Counterterrorism officials are concerned about a new generation of al Qaeda sympathizers.

"The next group of concern would be ... a generation younger. They're influenced by what they see on TV, they are influenced by misrepresentation of the facts," Black said. "They seem to be long on radicalism and comparatively short on training."



  • John Esterbrook

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