Salafi jihadist organization founded in 1988

Al-Qaeda[35] (Arabic: القاعدة, al-qāʿidah, "the base") is a global Islamist jihadist multinational organization network that was founded around August 1988 and late 1989.[36]p75[37] It works as a network, as a stateless army,[38] and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad on all fronts. Most of the world thinks it is a terrorist organization.[39][40]

LeadersOsama bin Laden  (1988–2011)
Ayman al-Zawahiri  (2011–2022)
Dates of operation1988–present
Group(s)Al-Qaeda Central (1988–present)

Al-Qaeda in Iraq (2004–2013, became Mujahideen Shura Council in January 2006)
Mujahideen Shura Council (January 2006–October 2006, became Islamic State of Iraq in October 2006)
Islamic State of Iraq (2006–2013)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (2013–2014)
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (2007–present)
Al-Qaeda in Palestine (2008–present)
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (2009–present)
Al-Qaeda in Somalia (2010–present)
Al-Qaeda in the Levant (2012–2017, became Tahrir al-Sham in January 2017)
Tahrir al-Sham (alleged, 2017–present)
Al-Mourabitoun (2013–2015, joined AQIM in December 2015)
Jund al-Aqsa (2014–2017)
Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (2014–present)
Khorasan Group
Al-Qaeda in Sinai Peninsula
Imam Shamil Battalion
Guardians of Religion Organization (2018–present)
Al-Qaeda Kurdish Battalions
Al Qaeda in the Lands Beyond the Sahel Al-Qaeda in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Al-Qaeda in Mali
Al-Qaeda in Spain

Al-Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago
Active regionsWorldwide

Predominantly in the Middle East
Rebel group with current territorial control in:

IdeologySalafist jihadism[4][5]
AlliesState allies:

Non-state allies:

OpponentsState opponents

Non-State opponents

Battles and warsWar on Terror

In Afghanistan

In Tajikistan

In Chechnya

In Yemen

In the Maghreb

In Iraq

In Pakistan

In Somalia

In Syria

In Egypt

Designated as a terrorist group by Canada
 United Kingdom
 United States
 United Arab Emirates
A jihadist flag of uncertain origin
The September 11 attacks, was the deadlist al-Qaeda attack.

Members of al-Qaeda have performed many acts of terrorism. Most of these have been done against the United States and Shias. Some of its most well-known attacks have been the September 11 attacks, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the U.S. Navy ship USS Cole in 2000. al-Qaeda has done suicide attacks and simultaneous (at the same time) bombings of different targets.[41]

Among al-Qaeda's goals is for other countries to stop influencing Muslim countries and for a new Islamic caliphate to be made. There have been reports that al-Qaeda believes that Christian and Jewish Islamophobia is trying to destroy Islam[42] and that the killing of bystanders and civilians is religiously justified in jihad.

There have been guesses that there are 500–1,000 operatives in Afghanistan and around 5,000 worldwide. However, there is no confirmation of this.

The group is diverse in its beliefs even though the group calls itself Salafi, it has many members who are Hanafi, Shafi`i, Maliki, Wahhabi, and Sufi as the former leader of the group Osama bin Laden was accepting of members as long as they were Muslims in his eyes. A few exceptions include followers of Shiism who curse and reject the companions of Muhammad (exceptions were made for those few who did not reject and curse the companions), and followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.[43]



In June 2001, al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which had been associated with each other for many years, merged into 'Qaeda al-Jihad'.[44]

"...the members of Islamic Jihad and its guiding figure Ayman al-Zawahiri have provided the backbone of [al-Qaeda's] leadership. According to officials in the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., Zawahiri has been responsible for much of the planning of the terrorist operations against the United States".[44]

Death of Osama Bin Laden and current leadership


Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri was the highest-ranking surviving member of al-Qaeda's leadership after Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011.

Death of Abu Yahya al-Libi


Senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a drone strike on June 4, 2022.[45] He ranked second to Ayman al-Zawahiri at the time. The strike was carried out in the northwest tribal area of Waziristan. The Pakistan Government has protested to the U.S. about the strike.[45]


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  35. pronounced /ælˈkaɪdə/ al-KYE-də or /ælˈkeɪdə/ al-KAY-də; alternatively spelled al-Qaida and sometimes al-Qa'ida
  36. Bergen, Peter L. (2006). The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda's Leader. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-7892-5.
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  38. Gunaratna 2002, pp. 95–96. "al-Qaeda's global network, as we know it today, was created while it was based in Khartoum, from December 1991 till May 1996. To coordinate its overt and covert operations as al-Qaeda's ambitions and resources increased, it developed a decentralised, regional structure. [...] As a global multinational, al-Qaeda makes its constituent nationalities and ethnic groups, of which there are several dozen, responsible for a particular geographic region. Though its modus operandi is cellular, familial relationships play a key role."
    See also:
  39. Ross, Jeffrey Ian (2003). The Dynamics of Political Crime. SAGE. ISBN 978-0-8039-7045-8.
  40. 2010 Amil Khan, The Long Struggle, p 88
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  42. Fu'ad Husayn 'al-Zarqawi ... "The Second Generation of al-Qa’ida, Part Fourteen," al-Quds al-Arabi, July 13, 2005
  43. Mandaville, Peter (2014). Islam and Politics (2nd ed.). 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA: Routledge. pp. 344–347. ISBN 978-0-415-78256-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  44. 44.0 44.1 Lawrence Wright 2002. The New Yorker. The man behind Bin Laden Archived 2011-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
  45. 45.0 45.1 Al-Qaeda commander Abu Yahya al-Libi killed - US officials. BBC News Asia Al-Qaeda commander Abu Yahya al-Libi killed - US officials - BBC News

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