Name of Organization
The organization was formed on August 11, 1988 by Osama
Bin Laden, comprising of Afghan Mujahedeen who fought
against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan throughout the
According US federal indictment in 1998, Al-Qaeda has an
administrative council, the members of which have
approved the undertakings of the organization. The
prominent members and leaders of Al-Qaeda are:
Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden
The founder and most notable
commander/leader of Al-Qaeda, was an Arab belonging to
the Yemeni Kindah tribe. He left college in 1979 to join
the Pakistani mujahedeen forces to fight against the
Soviet forces in Afghanistan. He financially funded the
mujahedeen and provided them with arms and fighters from
He was involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the
US. He was assassinated on May 1, 2011 by the US forces
Al-Zawahiri served as the deputy to Bin Laden and was
the ideological advisor of Al-Qaeda. After the death of
Bin Laden in 2011, Al-Zawahiri took over the leadership
He claimed involvement in July, 7, 2005 bus bombings in
the United Kingdom.
Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid
an Egyptian, was an advisor to Bin Laden and one of the
original members of the leadership council of Al-Qaeda.
He was the chief financial manager of some Bin Laden’s
enterprises in Pakistan after Bin Laden was exiled from
Pakistan to Sudan. He served time in prison for his role
as a conspirator in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian
President Anwar Sadat. He is reportedly involved in
financing the hijackers for the September 11, 2001
attacks on the US.
He was killed in the Predator strike in Mohammed Khel
village in Afghanistan on May 21, 2010.
Saif Al-Adel and Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah
Both Adel and Abdullah are
Egyptian contingents who are wanted for their role in
the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania. Abdullah is the financial officer of Al-Qaeda.
School of thought/ Classification
(It is opposed to all non-Sunni interpretations of
Al-Qaeda’s operates on the ideology to establish a
pan-Islamic caliphate throughout the Muslim world, which
will be based strictly on Sunni interpretation of the
It seeks to unite the Muslims to retaliate against the
influence of the West in the Muslim world.
organization and leadership of the group is based in
Pakistan and Afghanistan. Strong affiliated groups can
be found in Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Mali and the
Philippines. Al-Qaeda is suspected to have independent
cells in some 100 countries including the US; however
the law enforcement has notably broken up the cells in
the UK, the US, Pakistan, Italy, France, Uganda, Spain,
Germany, Albania, Somalia and elsewhere.
At its inception and development
stages, the Al-Qaeda militants were financed by Osama
Bin Laden’s personal financial resources. However, as
the influence of the group grew out of the region and it
became a global network; widespread drug trade became a
part of its operational funding. The profits from the
heroin smuggling from Afghanistan are directed to
Al-Qaeda through proxy groups. With time, as Al-Qaeda
faces setbacks in capability, it has become dependent on
the support of its allied groups.
Al-Qaeda is also supported financially by
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)
and donations from wealthy supporters in Kuwait, Saudi
Arabia and other Islamic countries.
Recruitment tools & demographics
Al-Qaeda is known to make its
membership look beneficial, engaging with the local
tribes in the tribal belt of Pakistan and Afghanistan,
where their core leadership is based. They also recruit
the members of madrassas in Pakistan.
Connections & linkages
Al-Qaeda is a widespread operating jihadist organisation
with supporters from all over the world. Having cells in
more than 100 countries, Al-Qaeda has a global outreach
and is affiliated with militant groups from across the
globe. It is closely affiliated movements of the
Al-Qaeda organisations. Al-Qaeda has links with a number
of extremist groups/networks that are operating in
Pakistan, the names of which are listed below;
The Haqqani Network
Harkat-ul-Jihad Al-Islami (HuJI)
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
Areas of Operation
Al-Qaeda has a global outreach and has been carrying out
attacks across the globe. It has autonomous underground
cells in more than 100 countries including the UK, the
USA, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
Al-Qaeda has a media wing; As-Sahab Media which
publishes magazines and releases videos.
It was proscribed on March 17, 2003.
corresponding notification number
Who they are:
Al-Qaeda is a global extremist group with its core bases in
Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is one of the longest-operating
jihadist militant organisations, considered a terrorist threat
to the US.
Most prominent of its attacks are the September 11 attacks in
the US in 2001, the 2005 bus attacks in the UK, the attack on
the Danish Embassy in Pakistan in 2008 and several spring
attacks in Pakistan in 2002. It has also allegedly attempted
attacks on the former President of Pakistan general Pervez
Musharraf in 2003.
The organization was established by Osama Bin Laden on August
11, 1988. After the Afghan invasion of the Soviet Union forces,
an anti-Soviet resistance movement had started in Pakistan. The
mujahideen participating in this movement were fighting against
Soviet forces to flee them out of Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden
joined this movement and provided financial support as well as
established training camps. The fighters trained in these camps
came from all over the Islamic world, which were willing to
fight against a threat to Islam. After the retreat of the Soviet
forces from Afghanistan in 1989, the fighters remained in
Afghanistan with the self-confidence to build a unified Islamic
empire. Bin Laden waged a war (global Jihad) against the United
States which took form of a prolonged terrorist campaign,
forming the international extremist organization; Al-Qaeda.
Throughout the years Al-Qaeda has spread its influence and has
become global network with organizations across the globe
aligned with it.
Al-Qaeda seeks to bring together the Muslims of the world and
fight the West, particularly the US, which the Al-Qaeda
considers an “apostate” for ousting the Muslim regimes. Its goal
is to expel the Western influence from Muslim countries and
defeat Israel. In February 1998, under the banner of “The World
Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders”,
Al-Qaeda issued a statement declaring it every Muslim’s duty “to
kill the US citizens – civilians and military – and their
Originally, the Al-Qaeda was established with Arabs and
mujahideen fighters who fought against the Soviet forces in
Afghanistan in 1988.
Currently, the recruits and commanders of Al-Qaeda are the
tribal leaders and former students of madrassas from within
Pakistan and Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda has been known for engaging
with the local Pashtun tribes in Pakistan and Afghanistan for
recruiting trainees and militants by offering to pay them and
provide them with additional benefits.
Besides their own fighters and core leadership, Al-Qaeda also
relies on the forces of other militant organisations that are in
alliance with it, notably the Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) and
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
Al-Qaeda has a media foundation which develops its magazines and
videos; As-Sahab Media.
Al-Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab Media has published two issues of
a magazine in English; “Resurgence”. The first issue features
articles related to the ways of harming western economies which
was released in October 2014.
The second issue is about the life story of one of the militants
of Al-Qaeda, which was released in June 2015.
Al-Qaeda has sent open letters to the governments of different
countries where they have explained their mission. These letters
first appeared in Arabic on the internet, which were translated
into English later. In one of the letters, they have explained
why they are fighting a war against the United States and
calling for them to stop their oppression. Referring to some
verses from the Qura’an, they claim to be fighting the US by the
permission of Allah.
As-Sahab Media released a trailer for the first issue of the
The media arm of Al-Qaeda has also released videos containing
messages from the leaders of the organization.
Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS)
As an aftermath of the Iraq invasion in 2003, Jama’at
al-Tawhidw’al-Jihad under Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian
militant, aligned with Al-Qaeda, making it Al-Qaeda in Iraq in
2004. After the death of Zarqawi in US airstrike in 2006, the
group remained aligned to Al-Qaeda. However, over the years, it
has become more independent and has split from Al-Qaeda on the
basis of strategic and ideological differences. AQI has been
rebranded by Zarqawi’s successor as the Islamic State of Iraq
and later, the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS). The
current leader of ISIS is the self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI):
It is a militant Islamist group operating in Southeast Asian
countries and seeks to establish a pan-Islamic across the
region. It has allegedly plotted attacks against US and other
Western targets in Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. It is
suspected of having links with Al-Qaeda.
The Haqqani Network:
Haqqani Network is part of the larger Taliban infrastructure and
is considered to be one of the most dangerous groups operating
in Afghanistan. The outfit is based in North Waziristan,
Pakistan and Siraj ud-Din Haqqani son of veteran anti-Soviet
fighter Jalal ud-Din Haqqani is leading the group. In September
2012, Haqanni Network was officially designated a terrorist
organization by the United States in September 2012.
HuM is a Pakistan based militant group that operates in Indian
occupied Kashmir. It was established in 1985, to fight jihad
against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan, after the retreat of
Soviet Union from Afghanistan, HuM is involved in jihad against
the Indian army in Kashmir.
Harkat-ul-Jihaad Al-Islami (HuJI):
Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami is a militant group, operational in
Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. It has been assisted by the
Al-Qaeda in its operations as well as by the Taliban.
It was formed in 1980 during the Afghan/Soviet war, by the name
Jamiat Ansarul Afghaneen (JAA). Towards the end of the
Afghanistan war, it altered its strategy and now fights for the
freedom of the Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir against the Indian
Lashkar e Taiba is a Pakistan based terrorist organization.
Major operational areas are Pakistan, India, and Kashmir. They
want to establish Islamic caliphate in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
(AJK) and has declared the U.S., Israel and India as existential
enemies of Islam. Lashkar e Taiba was formed in 1990 as an armed
wing of an extremist Islamic organization Markaz Al-Dawa wa
al-Irshad (MDI) formally established in 1987 by Hafiz Muhammad
Saeed. It was designated as a foreign terrorist organization
(FTO) by US in 2001 and banned in Pakistan in 2002. It receives
funds from charitable activities of Jammat ud-Dawah (JuD) and
Falah-e Insaniyat Foundation, Middle East, mainly Saudi Arabia,
and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). LeT maintains links to
the Afghan Taliban and several Pakistani Islamist extremist
groups, including the Kashmir-focused terrorist group Jaish-e
Mohammed (JeM) and the Sunni sectarian group Lashkar-e Jhangvi
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is an Islamic extremist terror
organization that functions mostly in Jammu and Kashmir region.
The outfit, like other terrorist groups in the region, has been
using violence to affect a withdrawal of Indian security forces
from J&K. It is an organization that is manned and controlled in
Pakistan. Since its inception in January 2001, it has carried
out several attacks in the form of “suicide attacks” on the
Indian forces present in Jammu and Kashmir. The organization
received major chunk of its funding from Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin
Laden prior to 2002, and currently it is using charity to
acquire funding. It has been proscribed in Pakistan since 2002,
however despite the ban; it continues to function in different
parts of the country. Since the organization is banned in
Pakistan and throughout the globe, it is now working as Al-Rehmat
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP):
TTP is a South Waziristan based conglomerate of various militant
outfits. Various tribal affiliations makeup for a considerable
strength within the organization, however due to tribal
frictions the relations with local commanders remains volatile.
It has established chapters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal
areas, which are led by local commanders. The
organization is believed to have created cross-sectional working
groups with other violent extremist organizations throughout
Pakistan. These groups consist of 10 – 15 members each and have
assisted in expanding the operations of the outfit. TTP has its
own extremist version of Deobandi ideology, where it justifies
the use of force and violence to enact Shariah law within the
country. It also demands Pakistani state’s disassociation from
the coalition for war on terror.
The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist group that was based in
Afghanistan. It provided refuge to Osama Bin Laden and the
Al-Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The regime was
toppled by the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. They
regrouped across the border of Pakistan under the leadership of
Mullah Omar who leads an insurgent movement against the
government in Kabul.
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU):
IMU is an Islamic militant group that seeks to install the
Shariah law in Uzbekistan. It operates in Uzbekistan and
Afghanistan and has been linked to the Al-Qaeda training camps,
financial bodies and weapons exchange.
Sunnis accept the first four Caliphs as the rightly guided
rulers who followed the Prophet (PBUH). Sunnis believe that the
leader of the Muslim Community should be selected on the basis
of consensus and on a leader’s individual merits.
Shariah which is the body of Islam is actually "way" or "path".
It is the lawful skeleton within which the both the public and
private aspects of life are monitored for those following Islam
as their religion. Shariah deals with all aspects of day-to-day
life, including politics, economics, banking, business law,
contract law, sexuality, and social issues. There is not a
strictly codified uniform set of laws that can be called Shariah.
It is more like a system of several laws, based on the Qur'an,
Hadith and centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent.
Islamism is the pan-Islamic ideology of imposing the Islamic
Shariah law strictly and removal of Western influence from the
Robert Fisk (2005). The
Great War for Civilisation, p. 4.