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Al-Qaida Members Reported Returning To Afghanistan - 2002-09-10


The New York Times is reporting U-S intelligence officials say some al-Qaida operatives have begun returning to Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan.

The newspaper quotes the unnamed officials as saying the movement back into Afghanistan is still relatively small and involves members of the terrorist network traveling in small groups.

The report says most of the thousands of al-Qaida members who fled Afghanistan after U-S-led forces ousted the Taleban government are not seeking to return. It says they remain scattered throughout South Asia and the Middle East, creating a terrorist diaspora that is of great concern to counter-terrorism officials.

Still, the New York Times report says the return of some al-Qaida operatives to Afghanistan is a serious threat to the U-S-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

Meanwhile, the U-S military in Afghanistan says it recently launched a large-scale operation against al-Qaida terrorists in southeastern Afghanistan. A U-S army spokesman says the operation is aimed at capturing or killing al-Qaida remnants near the border with Pakistan.

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