A year after bin Laden raid, al Qaeda weakened

Iynatullah Kakar, a former Taliban spokesman
CBS News

(CBS News) ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan - One year after Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda has changed.

CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward reports that for six years, Abbottabad was the hiding place of the most wanted man in the world. Now the terrorist leader's former home is a playground. Pakistani authorities leveled the house six months ago.

Inayatullah Kakar, former editor in chief of the Kabul Times, met bin Laden in the Afghan capital in 1996. He is one of few people with close contacts to militant groups in the region.

"I was impressed by him and everyone who met Osama bin Laden has been impressed by him. Even if he was his enemy," Kakar said.

A year after bin Laden's death, Kakar says al Qaeda's forces in Pakistan have been diminished to a few hundred by continuing U.S. air strikes.

"You know the first thing is that the drone attacks have been a big cause of eliminating their leadership circle. So whenever their leadership circle broke, so now they have only few young guys without any vision," Kakar said.

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This inexperienced inner circle of new leaders has struggled to maintain al Qaeda's profile. Spectacular coordinated attacks in the West, such as those on the World Trade Center, have been replaced by smaller operations in this region.

"So they are using the label of Al Qaeda to carry out, to achieve their own goals and al Qaeda is happy just to keep up pressure on Pakistani authorities. So you know that means that the U.S. was successful in breaking the al Qaeda strength in this regard," Kakar said.

One year later, many people in Pakistan still do not believe bin Laden was living in Abbottabad. Many locals certainly don't believe he was killed by the Navy SEAL raid there.

Even those who believe bin Laden was living and killed there are more angered by the U.S. infringing on Pakistan's sovereign integrity by staging that raid.

  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News