The fact is, no one can say whether we're seeing a decline or just a lull.

There is a decline since Osama went into hiding then , a further decline since Osama was killed.

Al Q, seem to switched gears and went into direct armed conflict - as opposed to terror tactics ?

Anyway; stop the flow of money (someone) is funding them <- catch that , then there will be no need to have booths on the ground. The same with the Taliban as well.

Stop the money.