NEW YORK - High-ranking US officials say al-Qaedas original network in the Pak-Afghan region is crippled, providing a rationale for an accelerated troop reduction in Afghanistan. The Obama administration is currently debating about how many troops to withdraw as the process is set to begin next month. Citing the unnamed officials, The New York Times reported that the intense campaign of drone strikes and other covert operations in Pakistan most dramatically the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden had left al Qaeda paralysed, with its leaders either dead or pinned down in the frontier area near Afghanistan. Of 30 prominent members of the terrorist organisation in the region identified by intelligence agencies as targets, 20 have been killed in the last year and a half, the unnamed officials were quoted as saying, thus, reducing the threat to the United States. Their confidence, they said, was buttressed by information found in the trove of material taken from bin Ladens compound in Abbottabad. These officials said the material revealed disarray within al-Qaedas leadership, with a frustrated bin Laden indicating that he could no longer direct terrorist attacks by lieutenants who feared for their own lives. The officials emphasised that President Obama had not yet made a determination on that question. Fighting al-Qaeda, they noted, was the main reason Obama agreed to deploy 30,000 more troops last year, even as he adopted a broader, more troop-intensive and time-consuming strategy of making key towns in Afghanistan safe from the Taliban and helping the Afghans to build up security forces and a better-functioning government. The military has been pressing for a plan under which only a few thousands troops out of the 100,000 currently in Afghanistan would come home immediately, with the bulk of the 30,000 troops sent last year remaining for another year or more. The officials declined to discuss Obamas views on how many troops should be withdrawn, or how quickly. The White House appears to be moving swiftly to conclude the internal debate, with officials saying that the president may announce a decision as early as next week, avoiding the kind of drawn-out deliberations that preceded Obamas decision in late 2009 to increase troop levels in Afghanistan by 30,000. The outgoing Defence Secretary Robert Gates, in an interview with The New York Times on Friday, said: This was a much more abbreviated process. Nobody wanted to go through what we went through in the fall of 2009. Meanwhile, Obama is facing pressure from two Democratic allies who want up to 50,000 troops withdrawn from Afghanistan this year. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer called for Obama to withdraw 30,000 troops by years end, with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, also a Democrat, calling for 50,000 withdrawals, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday. Ms Boxer, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said the United States should shift to a different mission focused on targeted counter-terrorism operations, the protection of American coalition personnel and the continued training of Afghan security forces. In a Los Angeles Times report, Ms Lee said anything less than halving the 100,000 US troop presence in Afghanistan is too little. As the president contemplates this decision, I urge him to hold true to his comments that he will seriously consider a 'significant reduction of US troops in Afghanistan, Ms. Lee said. A more significant and reasonable goal would be the withdrawal of 50,000 combat troops, she said. Any withdrawal plan should begin immediately and be conducted swiftly, not dragged out over years.