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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
U.S. says Yemen group one of many al Qaeda branches | Reuters
"U.S. says Yemen group one of many al Qaeda branches Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:02pm EST Related News * Yemen strikes at al Qaeda, Britain stops flights Wed, Jan 20 2010 * Yemen says strikes house of al Qaeda militant Wed, Jan 20 2010 * U.S. citizens in Yemen may pose threat, report says Tue, Jan 19 2010 * Qaeda denies fighters killed, Yemen vows more strikes Mon, Jan 18 2010 * Yemen in war with al Qaeda, urges citizens to help Thu, Jan 14 2010 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Yemen has made progress in its U.S.-backed fight against al Qaeda, but the extremist group continues to spread elsewhere and has some two dozen affiliates across a swathe of the globe, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. World At congressional hearings, U.S. officials painted a picture of an al Qaeda that has expanded from Afghanistan to Iraq, the Arabian peninsula, Africa and southeast Asia. "Al Qaeda is now difficult to define," Admiral Eric Olson commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, told a House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittee. "More than two dozen associated ... groups have established themselves in Iraq, the Arabian peninsula, the Horn of Africa, the trans-Saharan region, the Maghreb of north Africa, west Africa and southeast Asia, and there are several different groups now operating within and from Afghanistan and Pakistan," Olson said. Olson said al Qaeda's forces have been regenerated in part by extremists who had been detained, were released and then joined militant groups. He said officials estimate about one fifth of former detainees are "somehow re-engaging in activity ... against our interests." Critics of Obama's call to close the prison at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have cited the movement of former detainees to militant groups as reason to keep the facility."