General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military ruler, has claimed this month's arrest of a senior al-Qaeda operative has helped to ?break the back? of the terrorist organisation, severing the links between the central command and members on the ground.
In his first interview since the arrest this month of Abu Faraj al-Liby, al-Qaeda's alleged number three, Gen Musharraf said: ?We have broken their back. They cease to exist as a cohesive, homogenous body under good command and control, vertical and horizontal.?
Some European security experts have been sceptical about Mr al-Liby's importance to the terrorist network, but Gen Musharraf maintained that his capture was ?very significant? and that it had led to other key arrests in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
?He is the man who was in charge of al-Qaeda operations, internal and external and, of course, on a personal basis the man who masterminded the suicide attacks on me,? Mr Musharraf, the target of two assassination attempts in December 2003, told the Financial Times.