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After the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 al-Qaeda surpassed the IRA and the PLO as the worlds most well-known terrorist organization Al-Qaeda or the base in Arabic is the network of extremists organized by Osama bin Laden Al-Qaeda has its origins in the uprising against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan Thousands of volunteers from around the Middle East came to Afghanistan as mujahideen warriors fighting to defend fellow Muslims In the mid-1980s Osama bin Laden became the prime financier for an organization that recruited Muslims from mosques around the world These Afghan Arab mujahideen who numbered in the thousands were crucial in defeating Soviet forces After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan bin Laden returned to his native Saudi Arabia Bin Laden also studied with radical Islamic thinkers and may have already been organizing al-Qaeda when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 Bin Laden was outraged when the government allowed US troops to be stationed in Saudi Arabia the birthplace of Islam In 1991 he was expelled from Saudi Arabia for anti-government activities After his expulsion from Saudi Arabia bin Laden established headquarters for al-Qaeda in Khartoum Sudan The first actions of al-Qaeda against American interests were attacks on US servicemen in Somalia A series of terrorist actions suspected to have been orchestrated by al-Qaeda followed Subsequent attacks include numerous embassy bombings the first attempt on the World Trade Center a boat attack on the USS Cole bombings of airplanes and movie theaters out of the Philippines Al-Qaeda has also been linked to recent attacks on the US Consulate in Karachi Pakistan and on a nightclub in Bali In 1994 Sudan under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the US expelled bin Laden who moved his base of operations to Afghanistan Al-Qaeda set up terrorist training camps in the war-torn nation as it had in Sudan Al-Qaedas operational headquarters in Afghanistan was disrupted by a US invasion in early 2002 No intelligence exists as to what sort
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