Al Qaeda – Afghanistan

Al Qaeda – Afghanistan

Al Qaeda in Afghanistan since 2001.

Government sources

The Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland, National Intelligence Estimate, July 2007

“Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland, as its central leadership continues to plan high-impact plots, while pushing others in extremist Sunni communities to mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities. We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including: a safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), operational lieutenants, and its top leadership.”


The Reconstitution of al-Qaeda: Losing Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, Ahmed Rashid, Himal South Asian, September 2008

“Seven years on, the US-led war on terrorism has left in its wake a far more unstable world than existed on that momentous day: 11 September 2001. Rather than diminishing, the threat from al-Qaeda and its affiliates has grown, engulfing new regions of Africa, Asia and Europe and creating fear among peoples and governments from Australia to Zanzibar. In the region that spawned al-Qaeda and which the US has promised to transform after 9/11, the crisis is even more dangerous. Afghanistan is once again staring down the abyss of state collapse, despite billions of dollars in aid, 45,000 Western troops, and the deaths of thousands of people. The Taliban have made a dramatic comeback, enlisting the help of al-Qaeda and Islamic extremists in Pakistan, and getting a boost from the explosion in heroin production that has helped fund their movement.”

Al Qaeda Strikes Back, Bruce Riedel, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2007

“Al Qaeda today is a global operation — with a well-oiled propaganda machine based in Pakistan, a secondary but independent base in Iraq, and an expanding reach in Europe. Its leadership is intact. Its decentralized command-and-control structure has allowed it to survive the loss of key operatives such as Zarqawi. Its Taliban allies are making a comeback in Afghanistan, and it is certain to get a big boost there if NATO pulls out. It will also claim a victory when U.S. forces start withdrawing from Iraq. ‘The waves of the fierce crusader campaign against the Islamic world have broken on the rock of the mujahideen and have reached a dead end in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ a spokesperson for the newly proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq said on November 29, 2006. ‘For the first time since the fall of the Ottoman caliphate in the past century, the region is witnessing the revival of Islamic caliphates.'”

Al Qaeda: The Second Coming, Jason Burke, The Observer, March 11, 2007

Careful review of the organisation’s status on Osama Bin Laden’s 50th birthday.

The Return of Al Qaeda: Where You Bin?, Peter Bergen, New Republic, 29 January 2007

Major review of Al Qaeda’s recovery and prospects. “Today, from Algeria to Afghanistan, from Britain to Baghdad, the organization once believed to be on the verge of impotence is again ascendant.”

Beyond al-Qaeda: Part 1, The Global Jihadist Movement, Angel Rabasa, Peter Chalk, Kim Cragin, Sara A. Daly, Heather S. Gregg, Theodore W. Karasik, Kevin A. O’Brien, William Rosenau, RAND, 2006

Detailed study of contemporary Al Qaeda, including strategy, operational evolution, ideology, financing, Afghanistan and Pakistan situation, and  the “Al Qaeda nebula”.

The dividends of asymmetry: al-Qaida’s evolving strategy, Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, openDemocracy, 18 December 2006.

“There is circumstantial evidence, therefore, that al-Qaida’s relatively quiet international operational stance in 2006 is not an indication that the group has been weakened or is losing control of its operations. Rather, the low profile seems to have been adopted consciously, particularly in the second half of the year. The ingredients of the group’s strategy seem to be threefold:

  • an overall narrative of declared war and its associated phases’
  • tactical shifts in reaction to threats and opportunities (for instance, Hizbollah’s war with Israel in July-August 2006 provided a chance to offer conjunctural support to a Shi’a group and, in effect, backtrack from al-Zarqawi’s counterproductive anti-Shi’a campaign in Iraq); and
  • the internal cogency of the war’s rationale and its dominant modus operandi of attacks on civilians (albeit the subject of contradictory debate among radical Islamists).”

Al Qaeda – documents


Al Qaeda Training Manual, Department of Justice, United States.

“The attached manual was located by the Manchester (England) Metropolitan Police during a search of an Al Qaeda member’s home. The manual was found in a computer file described as ‘the military series’ related to the ‘Declaration of Jihad.'”

al-Qaeda’s Advice for Mujahideen in Iraq: Lessons Learned in Afghanistan, Ben Venzke and Aimee Ibrahim, 14 April 2003.

Translation and commentary on Message to Our People in Iraq and the Gulf [region] Specifically, and to our Islamic Ummah in General: The Islamic Resistance Against the American Invasion of Qandahar and Lessons Learned, by Saif al-Adel, issued by al-Qaeda Organization.

See also