Afghan officials say Asim Umar (pictured), leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, was killed in a raid which also killed 40 civilians last month. (Photo courtesy National Directorate of Security of Afghanistan)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.

Afghan officials have confirmed that a regional leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization was killed during a joint U.S.-Afghan raid in southern Afghanistan last month.

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A Saudi Arabian citizen and former Weatherford, Oklahoma resident was sentenced Thursday to more than 12 years in federal prison for visa fraud and making a false statement to the FBI about his attendance at an Al Qaeda training camp.

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File this under, "It's a bold strategy, Cotton."

Former Vice President Joe Biden has suggested essentially moving U.S. troops from Afghanistan to Pakistan, whence they could launch counter-terrorism raids over the border, as needed.

Biden, who is attempting to secure the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election, mentioned his plan during Thursday night's Democratic debate in Houston.

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FBI

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to question an alleged Egyptian Al Qaeda operative believed to be living in Brazil, and the South American country has pledged to cooperate with the United States in any way it can.

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(Associated Press/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

WASHINGTON — Al-Qaeda and its affiliates remain as much of a threat to the U.S. as "it has ever been" after the terrorist group rebuilt itself while the U.S. and other nations focused on destroying ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a State Department official said Thursday.

"Al-Qaeda has been strategic and patient over the past several years," Nathan Sales, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, said at a briefing in Washington. "It's let ISIS absorb the brunt of the world's counterterrorism efforts while patiently reconstituting itself. What we see today is an al-Qaeda that is as strong as it has ever been."

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on The Conversation.

Al-Qaida has recruited an estimated 40,000 fighters since Sept. 11, 2001, when the Osama bin Laden-led extremist group attacked the United States, according to the not-for-profit Council on Foreign Relations.

Despite a United States-led global “ war on terror" that has cost US$5.9 trillion, killed an estimated 480,000 to 507,000 people and assassinated bin Laden, al-Qaida has grown and spread since 9/11, expanding from rural Afghanistan into North Africa, East Africa, the Sahel, the Gulf States, the Middle East and Central Asia.

In those places, al-Qaida has developed new political influence – in some areas even supplanting the local government.

So how does a religious extremist group with fewer than a hundred members in September 2001 become a transnational terror organization, even as the world's biggest military has targeted it for elimination?

According to my dissertation research on the resiliency of al-Qaida and the work of other scholars, the U.S. “war on terror" was the catalyst for al-Qaida's growth.

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