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Weakened al-Qaida still a threat to U.S.

  |   April 30, 2008 at 8:25 PM
WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida and its associated networks were the greatest terrorist threat to the United States and its partners in 2007, the State Department said Wednesday.

Al-Qaida "reconstituted some of its pre-(Sept. 11, 2001) operational capabilities" in tribal areas of Pakistan, the department's congressionally mandated Country Reports on Terrorism indicated.

The network uses terrorism, subversion, propaganda and open warfare, the report said, and also "seeks weapons of mass destruction in order to inflict the maximum possible damage on anyone who stands in its way."

While al-Qaida has been weakened since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, its leaders "continued to plot and to cultivate stronger operational connections" in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

The report said Afghanistan remained threatened by the Taliban, other insurgent groups and criminal gangs, some of which were linked to al-Qaida and terrorist sponsors outside the country.

State sponsorship of terrorism "continued to undermine efforts to eliminate terrorism," the report said. "Iran remained the most significant state sponsor of terrorism."

The report also noted "significant achievements" against terrorist leadership targets, noting the capture or killing of key terrorist leaders in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Iraq and the Philippines.

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