As can be seen through the recent absorption of Algeria's GSPC and Somalia's ICU, the al-Qaeda movement is in an active push to expand its operations by franchising more local terrorists around the globe. The Financial Times article correctly summarizes that this effort "could see radical groups use al-Qaeda expertise to switch their attention from local targets to western interests in their countries and abroad."
This is the al-Qaeda whose Taliban allies used a boy appearing no more than 12 years old to behead a 'spy' in a video tape aired partially on the Dubai-based al-Arabiya television network. The boy's father said that his son acted as "a loyal member of the Taliban."
Al-Qaeda's Philippine franchise, Abu Sayyef, beheaded seven kidnapped workers and sent their heads to Philippine army bases. Philippine officials have ordered increased operations against Abu Sayyef and Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiah, al-Qaeda's primary South Asia affiliate which also operates in the Philippines.