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New Estimate of Strength of Al Qaeda Is Offered
By DAVID E. SANGER and MARK MAZZETTI
Published: June 30, 2010
ASPEN, Colo. — Michael E. Leiter, one of the country’s top counterterrorism officials, said Wednesday that American intelligence officials now estimated that there were somewhat “more than 300” Qaeda leaders and fighters hiding in Pakistan’s tribal areas, a rare public assessment of the strength of the terrorist group that is the central target of President Obama’s war strategy.
Taken together with the recent estimate by the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, that there are about 50 to 100 Qaeda operatives now in Afghanistan, American intelligence agencies believe that there are most likely fewer than 500 members of the group in a region where the United States has poured nearly 100,000 troops. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/world ... .html?_r=1
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