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Al-Qaeda leaving Iraq for Afghanistan: report

Several Al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq have left the country for Afghanistan in a sign of weakness in the insurgent INSURGENT. One who is concerned in an insurrection. He differs from a rebel in this, that rebel is always understood in a bad sense, or one who unjustly opposes the constituted authorities; insurgent may be one who justly opposes the tyranny of constituted authorities.  group, The Washington Post reported Thursday quoting Iraqi intelligence.

US officials also say Al-Qaeda may be sending new recruits to Afghanistan, where they have made gains, and away from Iraq, where they have been hit by US and Iraqi forces, the newspaper reported.

"We do believe Al-Qaeda is doing some measure of re-assessment regarding the continued viability of its fight in Iraq and whether Iraq should remain the focus of its efforts," Brigadier General Brian Keller, senior intelligence officer for General David Petraeus This page has been semi-protected, meaning readers without Wikipedia user accounts or with registered accounts less than four days old cannot edit this page.

David Howell Petraeus
, the top American commander in Iraq, told the paper in an e-mail.

But Keller cautioned that the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  had not confirmed that recruits are being sent to Afghanistan or that Al-Qaeda in Iraq
For the alleged earlier involvement of al-Qaeda in Iraq, see Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is a term used by the media to describe a salafi terrorist group which is playing an active role in the Iraqi insurgency.
 leaders have gone there.

The Post, citing a US intelligence analyst, reported that Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been "seriously weakened" in the last year and that the flow of foreign fighters into the country has plummeted.

Abdullah al-Ansari, an Al-Qaeda leader in Fallujah, told the daily that group leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri Abu Ayyub al-Masri (Arabic: أبو أيّوب المصر? Translation: Father of Ayyub (the eldest) the Egyptian) (born c.  had traveled to Afghanistan through Iran.

"It's not known yet whether he would come back or not," he said, referring to Masri.

Petraeus spokesman Colonel Steven Boylan, however, said that the United States could not confirm Masri's whereabouts where·a·bouts  
About where; in, at, or near what location: Whereabouts do you live?

n. (used with a sing. or pl.

"Our current assessment is that he remains in Iraq." Some top Iraqi officials continue to say that Masri was killed last year, but the assertion has never been corroborated cor·rob·o·rate  
tr.v. cor·rob·o·rat·ed, cor·rob·o·rat·ing, cor·rob·o·rates
To strengthen or support with other evidence; make more certain. See Synonyms at confirm.
 by the US military.

Intelligence officer Keller said the United States was unsure what the diversion of fighters to Afghanistan means.

"We continue to wrestle with the question of whether this represents a strategic shift on the part of Al-Qaeda," Keller wrote.

"We do know that Al-Qaeda leaders will never give up entirely on Iraq, but they may in the future see Afghanistan or some other location yet to be determined as a place where their resources may be more effectively employed."
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Publication:AFP South Asian Edition
Date:Jul 31, 2008
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