May 10th, 2009
10:28 AM ET
11 years ago

Petraeus: Main al Qaeda organization not based in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (CNN) – U.S. CENTCOM Commander Gen. David Petraeus said Sunday that al Qaeda, the terrorist group that organized and carried out the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, is not based in Afghanistan.

"This is a syndicate of extremist organizations – some of which are truly transnational extremists," the general told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King on CNN's State of the Union.

"They do come in and out of Afghanistan. But al Qaeda – precise al Qaeda, if you will – is not based per se in Afghanistan. Although its elements and certainly its affiliates . . . certainly do have enclaves and sanctuaries in certain parts of Eastern Afghanistan," Petraeus said.

The military commander added that the local, Afghani version of al Qaeda is still present in several districts of the country.

"The federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan – that very, very mountainous, rugged terrain – just east of the Afghan border and in the western part of Pakistan is the locus of the leadership of these organizations although they do, again, go into Afghanistan and conduct operations against our troops."

The general was responding to recent comments by Afghani president Hamid Karzai who told CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week that al Qaeda was no longer based in his country.

"I think that's an accurate assessment," Petraeus said Sunday about Karzai's remarks on CNN's The Situation Room.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Pakistan • State of the Union
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. get every last one of them

    they all need to answer to us, not any god, but to our justice system... better yet let them answer to our guns over there, no need for a court

    May 10, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Of course they are not based in Afghanistan, they are constantly moving their main base of operations around trying to keep from being targeted by the U.S. Any person with intelligence knows this. They actually have two main bases of operations, each able to take over if one is finally detected and targeted by us. That won't save them because it is just a matter of time before we get all of them.

    May 10, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. gary davis

    our military needs to get ahold of all the cell phone companies in that region of the world and every 30 seconds ring every number in the region . see how many exsplosives blow up the enemy will think the bomb maker made a mistake.

    May 10, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. Franky

    Alright, I buy that, I buy that, the General has been upfront in the last couple months. I'm sure the General can pull a the way, I don't know about you Patton is no doubt one of the most baddest Commanders in our history, it runs in his family. I don't know if I ever told you guys but have I told you what are my top 5 Generals of all time in our history?? I believe Patton, should be up there, is in his blood and family and believe it or not guys, I agree as well...there is no doubt Robert E. Lee may just be the BEST we have ever had, he was such a very intelligent tactician and strategic. But I do notice that no one talked about his weakness...I think I know what it was but that's for another analysis to talk about.

    I bet you guys didn't know I also know military history, huh?? You know how much I know? We had our first "Jet Ace" in the Air Force, back in the 50's against the Korean War...old-school baby, old-school!! I love it...

    May 10, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    What if the United States of America declared war on The Taliban and Al Queda? A real honest to goodness war against the people who really made the attacks on 9/11 possible.

    Reason #1- We don't lose wars. Police actions,incursions, insertion of troops- "operation this or that" have always had mixed results. Wars we don't lose.

    Reason #2- Afganistan was our enemy when it was ruled by the Taliban but is now our friends in fighting them.

    Reason # 3- Unlike Iraq these guys have declared war on us.

    Reason #4 – Every detainee in our custody at Gitmo or elesewhere would become a prisoner of war. Subject to the Geneva Convention. Good news for them no torture, bad news for them no release until their side surrenders.

    Reason #5- A real war gets real war bonds, a national war effort, sacrafice from all (not just military families.

    May 10, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. E.C.Coleman

    al Qaeda is a Sleeper Organization.
    There will always be an 'al Qaeda' group of extremists and terrorists. The world will never be rid of the Taliban or al Qaeda; these groups will only be 'controlled' and contained......untill they can reorganize and attack, again and again.
    Intelligence doesn't even know where all these extremists networks
    and pods are located. Unless an extremist leaves a group and becomes an informer, or there is a plant inside a group, there is no way that Intelligence will ever know locations until they strike again.
    These groups may not be "based in Afghanistan,' but that is no
    accomplishment, per se.
    Wishful Thinking.............

    May 10, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    I think our military is doing a great job all over the world . and with the new administration . we will remove the radical selfcenter twits and restore freedom to the world . and I hope Iran alows a woman to run for president and remove the little war monger and bring peace to Iran.
    it is a sad day in our world when one person can get so many civilians into danger and death. surgical stricks need to happen more often . just remove the radical idiots and not the people who have to obey the idiots.
    our country has had its problems too
    fear and threats from a leader and his administration . we need to continue with what Obama is trying to do . what a great chance we have been given to have a leader who is smart and does care about not just americans but the world . and not how much oil he can steal.
    to the military and the president


    May 10, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Rep. do like to protect them

    Most of Al Qaeda's finances and main base of operation is in Saudi Arabia. Why won't we public tell the citizens of the US? Because we get most of your oil from this country. And this country is quote from republican's an ally.
    Republican's are so blind.

    May 10, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Larry

    Obama will be inviting them here to talk about peace and what we can do to make them happy,it is all are fault.

    May 10, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. ib

    They are re-grouping because they know as weak as a president as Obama is it will only be a matter of time before we are hit by them on our homesoil again. Obama needs to listen closely to this general and take his advise on how to combat them.

    May 10, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |