Since the death of former al Qaeda ring leader Osama bin Laden, President Obama has told America over and over again that the terrorist group has been defeated and severely damaged. Even a day after the 9/11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Obama said, "al Qaeda is on it's way to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead." Until just last week, "al Qaeda is on the run," was part of Obama's campaign trail stump speech.
Not only was 9/11 a harsh reminder the terrorist group is alive and well, after all they did rip down the U.S. flag and replace it with the flag of al Qaeda, reports show the group making a comeback in Afghanistan.
As things stand, however, an unquestionably weakened al-Qaida appears to have preserved at least limited means of regenerating inside Afghanistan as U.S. influence in the country wanes. The last U.S. combat troops are scheduled to be gone by Dec. 31, 2014, and security matters turned over to the Afghan government.
"They are trying to increase their numbers and take advantage of the Americans leaving," the police chief of Paktika province, Gen. Dawlat Khan Zadran, said through a translator in an interview this month in the governor's compound. He mentioned no numbers, but said al-Qaida has moved more weapons across the border from Pakistan.
This reality will make for an interesting topic tonight during the final presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney in Bocan Raton, Florida.