February 2, 2009
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR


   

U.S. OFFICIALS TELL NPR NEWS AL-QAIDA LEADERSHIP
IN PAKISTAN “DECIMATED” BY AIRSTRIKES,
“COMPLETE AL-QAIDA DEFEAT” POSSIBLE

REPORT AIRING ON MORNING EDITION TOMORROW, FEBRUARY 3



February 2, 2009; Washington, D.C. – Senior U.S. official tell NPR News that CIA-directed airstrikes against al-Qaida leaders and facilities in Pakistan over the past six to nine months have so “decimated” the terrorist network’s leadership base that a “complete al-Qaida defeat” is foreseeable. NPR News correspondent Tom Gjelten reports that, according to the counterterrorism and intelligence officials, up to a dozen senior and midlevel operatives have been killed as a result of the strikes, leaving the network’s remaining leadership faltering.

The complete report is airing tomorrow on NPR News’ Morning Edition; a Web companion article is available now at: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100160836

Officials tell NPR’s Gjelten that, while it is too early to declare victory in the region, the “attacks have produced the broadest, deepest, most rapid reaction in al-Qaida senior leadership that we’ve seen in several years.” Gjelten reports that the intelligence reports have been shared with President Obama and underlie his decision to authorize the continued use of unmanned aircraft to launch weapons against suspected al-Qaida targets in Pakistan’s border region.

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News. Television usage must include on-screen credit with NPR logo. The interview will air tomorrow morning, and be available at approximately 9:00AM (ET) at www.NPR.org

Morning Edition, the two-hour newsmagazine airing weekdays and hosted by Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C. and Renée Montagne from NPR West in Culver City, Calif., is public radio’s most listened-to program with 13.2 million weekly listeners. For local stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations