Those who have been fighting al-Qaida for a decade have learned never to underestimate the group's affiliates. The groups may start out with local agendas, but they eventually morph into jihadists with global ambitions. The U.S. learned that lesson on Christmas Day four years ago when al-Qaida's arm in Yemen put a suicide bomber on a plane bound for Detroit. Now al-Qaida has affiliates in Mali and the U.S. is watching closely. So far, Al-Qaida's arm there has focused on fighting government troops, but that could change.
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