Al-Qaeda, an international terrorist network, founded by Osama bin Laden in the late 1980’s.
• It is considered the top terrorist threat to the United States.
• It is a global militant Sunni Islamist group network, comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad.
• The group is wanted for its September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as a host of lesser attacks.
• To escape the post-9/11 U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda's central leadership fled eastward into Pakistan, securing a safe haven in loosely governed areas there.
• The killing of al-Qaeda's top leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in Pakistan in May 2011 served a significant blow to the organization, but analysts say al-Qaeda remains deadly with its networks spread all over the world.
• It seeks to rid Muslim countries of what it sees as the profane influence of the West and replace their governments with fundamentalist Islamic regimes.
• After al-Qaeda's September 11, 2001, attacks, the United States launched a war in Afghanistan to destroy al-Qaeda's bases there and overthrow the Taliban, the country's Muslim fundamentalist rulers who harbored bin Laden and his followers.
*Sources-Council on Foreign Relations and Wikipedia