December 2, 2009, ABC News
As he justified sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan at a cost of $30 billion a year, President Barack Obama’s description … of the al Qaeda “cancer” in that country left out one key fact: U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda fighters in the entire country. A senior U.S. intelligence official told ABCNews.com the approximate estimate of 100 al Qaeda members left in Afghanistan reflects the conclusion of American intelligence agencies and the Defense Department. The relatively small number was part of the intelligence passed on to the White House as President Obama conducted his deliberations. With 100,000 troops in Afghanistan at an estimated yearly cost of $30 billion, it means that for every one al Qaeda fighter, the U.S. will commit 1,000 troops and $300 million a year. At a Senate hearing, the former CIA Pakistan station chief, Bob Grenier, testified al Qaeda had already been defeated in Afghanistan. “So in terms of ‘in Afghanistan,'” asked Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., “they have been disrupted and dismantled and defeated. They’re not in Afghanistan, correct?” “That’s true,” replied Grenier.
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