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Broad-based Islamic militant organization founded in Afghanistan by Osama bin Laden. Its members supported Muslim fighters during the Afghan war of 1979–89; afterward the organization dispersed but continued to oppose secularized Muslim regimes and foreign (notably U.S.) presence in Islamic lands. It staged numerous terrorist attacks, including the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, and a suicide bomb attack against the U.S. warship Cole in 2000. During that time it merged with other Islamic extremist organizations and eventually reestablished its headquarters in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where it trained thousands of Muslim militants. In 2001, 19 such militants staged the September 11 attacks. The U.S. and allied forces responded by attacking Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, killing and capturing thousands and driving the remainder into hiding.
Variants of QAEDA, AL-
Qaeda, al- also al-Qa'idah
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