Place of Origin: Afghanistan and Pakistan

Year of Origin: 1988


Al-Qaeda is one of the most ancient extremist groups and it has changed its strategies as time goes by. It was founded by Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, during the Soviet war against Afghanistan, inciting a global jihad. It became well-known by the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3.000 peoplle in the United States. Since them, the US started to attack some of its bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan, culminating with the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011. The leader of the group was finally dead, but Al-Qaeda remained active in many countries. The group established at least six regional affiliates in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, East Africa, and the Indian subcontinent: Al-Shabaab, Al-Nusrah, Front Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdullah Azzam Brigades and the Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.


Al-Qaeda is a jihadist group that seeks to establish a global caliphate and the main difference between this group and Daesh is that Al-Qaeda doesn´t agree with the killing of Shias.


Currently, the leader of the group is Ayman al-Zawahri. In 2015, Al-Qaeda killed 1.620 people in 11 countries (Algeria, Bangladesh, France, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Pakistan ,Somalia, Syria, Uganda and Yemen).



Al-Qaeda has focused its recruitment on Middle East, but it also has inspired people from Western countries (the brothers Tsarnaev exploded a bomb during the Boston Marathon in 2013 after watching an instruction video produced by Al-Qaeda).



The former communication strategies were basically messages broadcasted by radio and later the group produced some appearances of Osama bin Laden in videos that were broadcasted on TV. With the Internet, the extremist group expanded the reach of its messages and started producing some short videos to incite people to plot attacks against the West.


Source: Global Terrorism Index 2016 / Counter Extremism Project