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Al-qaeda not on rise in Afghanistan: Gen. Patraeus

Kabul , Sun, 10 Apr 2011 ANI

Kabul, Apr 10 (ANI): General David Patraeus, the commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, has said that he disagrees that the militant Islamist group al-qaeda is making a come back in the country.


"There is no question that al Qaeda has had a presence in Afghanistan and continues to have a presence - generally assessed at less than 100 or so," The Daily Mail quoted Patraeus, as saying.


However, he admitted that some Al-qaeda fighters have been searching for hide outs in rugged areas of Aghanistan.


"There certainly has been some exploration for potential safe havens or sanctuaries in very mountainous areas of Nuristan and parts of Kunar provinces. Our intention, with our Afghan partners, is to maintain pressure on those who are seeking to establish safe havens," said Patraeus.


Earlier, it was reported that during the past six to eight months, al-qaeda fighters have been setting up training camps, hideouts and bases along Afghanistan-Pakistan border.


The U.S and Afghan officials were also qoted as saying "al-qaeda is coming back."


Petraeus said the recent deaths of seven U.N. workers in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan would not affect plans for Afghan security forces to start taking the lead for security in the provincial capital this summer.


He also admitted that he was weighing his options for his next position when U.S. and Nato forces pulled out of the country, but he dodged a question about the Washington rumour of him becoming CIA director. (ANI)


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