7,524. 2/5/2010

“While at the height of power in the late 1990s, al Qaeda was made up of about 3,000 to 4,000 fighters. Today [February 5, 2010], bin Laden’s ranks are down to about 400 to 500. According to the most credible intelligence estimates, perhaps 100 al Qaeda operatives are in Afghanistan and another 300 in neighboring Pakistan. Most of its seasoned field lieutenants have been either captured or killed and replaced by unskilled and ineffective operators, and new skilled recruits are hard to come by.”

 – Fawaz A. Gerges, “Lone Wolves Signal al Qaeda’s Weakness,” CNN, Feb. 5, 2010

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