President Obama’s Secret: Only 100 al Qaeda Now in Afghanistan

(ABCNews)    With New Surge, One Thousand U.S. Soldiers and $300 Million for Every One al Qaeda Fighter.As he justified sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan at a cost of $30 billion a year, President Barack Obama’s description Tuesday 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.

President Barack Obama addresses the nation on Afghanistan at the United States Military Academy at…
President Barack Obama addresses the nation on Afghanistan at the United States Military Academy at West Point in West Point, N.Y, Dec. 1, 2009. Obama said sending 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan is in the “vital national interest” of the United States.

More PhotosA 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.

President Obama made only a vague reference to the size of the al Qaeda presence in his speech at West Point, when he said, “al Qaeda has not reemerged in Afghanistan in the same number as before 9/11, but they retain their safe havens along the border.”

A spokesperson at the White House’s National Security Council, Chris Hensman, said he could not comment on intelligence matters.

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