From: Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2000. United States
Department of State, April 2001.
Note: U.S. State Dept. documents are not as a general rule
Established by Usama Bin Laden in the late 1980s to bring together Arabs
who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet invasion. Helped finance,
recruit, transport, and train Sunni Islamic extremists for the Afghan
resistance. Current goal is to establish a pan-Islamic Caliphate
throughout the world by working with allied Islamic extremist groups to
overthrow regimes it deems "non-Islamic" and expelling
Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries. Issued statement under
banner of "the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and
Crusaders" in February 1998, saying it was the duty of all Muslims to
kill US citizens--civilian or military--and their allies everywhere.
Plotted to carry out terrorist operations against US and Israeli tourists
visiting Jordan for millennial celebrations. (Jordanian authorities
thwarted the planned attacks and put 28 suspects on trial.) Conducted the
bombings in August 1998 of the US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es
Salaam, Tanzania, that killed at least 301 persons and injured more than
5,000 others. Claims to have shot down US helicopters and killed US
servicemen in Somalia in 1993 and to have conducted three bombings that
targeted US troops in Aden, Yemen, in December 1992. Linked to the
following plans that were not carried out: to assassinate Pope John Paul
II during his visit to Manila in late 1994, simultaneous bombings of the
US and Israeli Embassies in Manila and other Asian capitals in late 1994,
the midair bombing of a dozen US trans-Pacific flights in 1995, and to
kill President Clinton during a visit to the Philippines in early 1995.
Continues to train, finance, and provide logistic support to terrorist
groups in support of these goals.
May have several hundred to several thousand members. Also serves as a
focal point or umbrella organization for a worldwide network that includes
many Sunni Islamic extremist groups such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad, some
members of al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,
and the Harakat ul-Mujahidin.
Location/Area of Operation
Al-Qai'da has a worldwide reach, has cells in a number of countries, and
is reinforced by its ties to Sunni extremist networks. Bin Ladin and his
key lieutenants reside in Afghanistan, and the group maintains terrorist
training camps there.
Bin Laden, son of a billionaire Saudi family, is said to have inherited
approximately $300 million that he uses to finance the group. Al-Qaida
also maintains moneymaking front organizations, such as heroin and cocaine
trafficing, solicits donations from like-minded supporters, and illicitly
siphons funds from donations to Muslim charitable organizations.
Al Qai'da is also known to have received funds from Kuwait, and it is
suspected that the organization receives money through bin Laden's family