Al-Qaeda which means ‘The Base’ or ‘The Foundation’, was created on August 11, 1988, by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azam, and several other Arab volunteers. It is a militant Sunni Islamist global organisation. It operates through a network all over the world and consists of Salafi jihadist and Islamic extremists. Since it came into existence, it has targeted both civil and military targets in countries around the world- the deadliest amongst them being the U.S. embassy bombings in 1998, the September 11 attacks and the 2002 Bali bombings. After the death of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda’s operations have become franchise based rather than top controlled.
The creation of Al-Qaeda has always had many theories revolving around it. But the one, which has fingers pointing towards America wherein it is believed that America created its own monster is now quite frequently talked about.
We bring you some points on the creation of Al-Qaeda that you must know about.
Since the time the Soviet-Afghan war began in the early 1980s, the US intelligence force was in favour of recruiting Muslim youth to fight against the Russians. The CIA along with Pakistan’s ISI, and Saudi Arabia recruited thousands of Muslim youth to fight in Afghanistan against the Soviet forces. They were made to believe they were fighting for their freedom from the Western powers.
Between 1982 and 1992, almost thirty-five thousand Muslim radicals from forty Islamic countries were recruited. Saudi-born Osama bin Laden was one of them.
The mujahideen training camps were given military aid and finance through Pakistan’s ISI.
There are theories that the America’s military-intelligence operation in Afghanistan where it created the ‘Islamic brigade’ was launched much before the entry of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. This theory states that America intended to start a civil war in the region.
After the Soviet Union had withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan, the terrorist group created by CIA was left behind.
In the absence of any leadership, these youths took up the command into their own hands and started their own covert operations.
During the war, madarasas were used as training camps and by the time the war stopped they had already become major hideouts and camps for the training of these terrorists.
The content of books was changed to evoke hatred against anti-Muslim powers and brainwash children against what was Islamic and what was anti-Islamic.
So by the time the war came to an end, an entire generation of children had been brainwashed into believing military jihad was the only way for them.
This is how Al-Qaeda kept getting its constant supply of youths who believed in the philosophy of the organisation.
Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala