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Database: Identifiers of Designated Islamic Terrorist Organizations
Designated as terrorist by: Australia, Canada, European Union, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States
Base of operations: Afghanistan, Pakistan
Founded by Osama bin Laden in conjunction with Arab veterans of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda (Arabic for "the Base") is the archetypal Sunni terrorist group. Al-Qaeda's goals are to rid the Islamic world of Western influence, topple secular Muslim governments, and establish a new caliphate (Islamic state) ruled by Shari'a (Islamic law). Its 1998 declaration, issued under the rubric of "the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders," called on Muslims to kill Americans and their allies. Turning these words into deeds, al-Qaeda terrorists bombed the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2008, murdering 224, including 12 Americans; attacked the USS Cole in 2000, claiming the lives of 17 U.S. sailors; and carried out the suicide hijackings of September 11, 2001. Though it has lost its Afghan base and much of its leadership to U.S. military action, al-Qaeda is still focused on striking Western targets and has morphed into a terrorist "brand" with affiliates across Africa and the Middle East.
In light of the competition with the Islamic State, al-Qaeda reaffirmed in July 2014 its allegiance to Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban. In September 2014, al-Qaeda announced a new affiliate in the Indian subcontinent area.
Identifiers by Organization
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