The North Atlantic Treaty Organization called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty, signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium. Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29; the most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members. An additional 21 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs; the combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.
Members have committed to reach or maintain defense spending of at least 2% of GDP by 2024. On 4 March 1947 the Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of a possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II. In 1948, this alliance was expanded to include the Benelux countries, in the form of the Western Union referred to as the Brussels Treaty Organization, established by the Treaty of Brussels. Talks for a new military alliance which could include North America resulted in the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 by the member states of the Western Union plus the United States, Portugal, Norway and Iceland; the North Atlantic Treaty was dormant until the Korean War initiated the establishment of NATO to implement it, by means of an integrated military structure: This included the formation of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in 1951, which adopted the Western Union's military structures and plans.
In 1952 the post of Secretary General of NATO was established as the organization's chief civilian. That year saw the first major NATO maritime exercises, Exercise Mainbrace and the accession of Greece and Turkey to the organization. Following the London and Paris Conferences, West Germany was permitted to rearm militarily, as they joined NATO in May 1955, in turn a major factor in the creation of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact, delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defense against a prospective Soviet invasion – doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO's military structure in 1966. In 1982 the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989–1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO's purpose, nature and focus on the continent of Europe.
This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO's military spending. NATO began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not been NATO concerns. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and Yugoslavia in 1999 during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, most of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004. Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks, after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF.
The organization has operated a range of additional roles since including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq War, Syrian Civil War, annexation of Crimea; the first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO's military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established; the changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France's military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.
Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional co
Kunduz or Qunduz is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northern part of the country next to Tajikistan. The population of the province is around 953,800, multi-ethnic and a tribal society; the city of Kunduz serves as the capital of the province. The Kunduz Airport is located next to the provincial capital; the Kunduz River valley dominates the Kunduz Province. The river flows irregularly from south to north into the Amu Darya river which forms the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. A newly constructed bridge crosses the Amu Darya at Sherkhan Bandar; the river, its tributaries, derivative canals provide irrigation to the irrigated fields that dominate land usage in the agricultural province. There are rain-fed fields and open range land that span several miles; the area has been part of many empires in the past. It became part of the Afghan Durrani Empire in the mid-18th century, it saw a major migration from Russian Turkestan in the north during the early 1920s. During the governance of Sher Khan Nasher, Kunduz became one of the wealthiest of Afghanistan's provinces due to Nasher's founding of the Spinzar Cotton Company, which continues to exist in post-war Afghanistan in the early 20th century.
Between one hundred and two-hundred thousand Tajiks and Uzbeks fled the conquest of their homeland by Russian Red Army and settled in northern Afghanistan. During the war in Afghanistan Kunduz was captured by NATO forces. In November 2001, members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, along with Pakistani military personnel and Afghan sympathizers were airlifted to Pakistan to evade NATO capture in the Kunduz Airlift. Germany has 4000 soldiers stationed in the NATO-ISAF Kunduz province Provincial Reconstruction Team, along with Regional Command North; the province was peaceful until Taliban militants started infiltrating the area in 2009. On 4 September 2009, the German commander called in an American jet fighter, which attacked two NATO fuel trucks, captured by insurgents. More than 90 people died, among them at least 40 civilians, it was reported that on 21 November 2009 a bomb going off along the Takhar Kunduz highway killed a child and injured two others. The governor, Mohammad Omar, was killed by a bomb on 8 October 2010.
On 10 February 2011, a suicide bomber killed a district governor and six other people in the district of Chardara in Kunduz Province, where the insurgency is well entrenched. The current governor of Kunduz province is Asadullah Omarkhel; the city of Kunduz is the capital of the province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are controlled by the Afghan National Police; the Kunduz border with neighboring Tajikistan is monitored and protected by the Afghan Border Police, part of the ANP. A provincial police chief is assigned to lead both the ANP and ABP; the police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed including the NATO-led forces. According to the News reports, on 28 September 2015, Afghan Taliban has captured the Kunduz province; the province is served by Kunduz Airport which had scheduled direct flights to Kabul as of May 2014. The Tajikistan–Afghanistan bridge at Panji Poyon connects the province to Tajikistan. Agriculture and livestock husbandry are the primary occupations of the provinces residents.
Fruit and vegetable are the most farms items but there is some cotton and sesame production. Farmers faced water shortages. Men and women in Kunduz were employed in clothing production, metal working and hide business; the port of Sherkhan Bandar provides an international outlet for Kunduz's goods and has allowed for importing commercial goods from Asia, Middle East, the Persian Gulf. The percentage of households with clean drinking water fell from 25% in 2005 to 16% in 2011; the percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 6% in 2005 to 22% in 2011. The overall literacy rate fell from 33% in 2005 to 20% in 2011; the overall net enrolment rate fell from 62% in 2005 to 50% in 2011. Although a reliable census has not been carried out, the population of Kunduz province is estimated to be around 953,800; the province is multi ethnic and rural. The ethnic groups that inhabit the province are as follows: Pashtun 45% Uzbek 20% Tajik 20% Turkmen 9.4% Hazara 3% Arab 4.6% plus small groups of Pashayi and Nuristani.
About 94% of the population practice Sunni Islam and 6% are followers of Shia Islam. The major languages spoken in the area are Pashto, Dari Persian, Uzbeki; the province is represented in Afghan domestic cricket by the Kunduz Province cricket team. National player Mirwais Ashraf is from Kunduz and represents Afghanistan in international cricket. Naval Postgraduate School - Kunduz Province
Wakhan District is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. The total population for the district is about 13,000 residents; the district has three international borders: Tajikistan to the north, Pakistan to the south, Afghanistan's only border with China to the east. The capital of the district is the village of Khandud, which has a population of 1,244. Wakhan Wakhan Corridor Map at the Afghanistan Information Management Services
Badakhshan Province is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and northern Pakistan. It shares a 56.5-mile border with China. It is part of a broader historical Badakhshan region; the province contains 22 to 28 districts, over 1,200 villages, 904,700 people. Feyzabad serves as the provincial capital. Badakhshan is bordered by Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province and Khatlon Province in Tajikistan to the north and east. In the east of the province a long spur called the Wakhan Corridor extends above northern Pakistan's Chitral and Northern Areas to a border with China; the province has a total area of 44,059 square kilometres, most of, occupied by the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges. Badakhshan was a stopover on the ancient Silk Road trading path, China has shown great interest in the province after the fall of the Taliban, helping to reconstruct roads and infrastructure. According to the World Wildlife Fund, Badakhshan contains temperate grasslands and shrublands, as well as Gissaro-Alai open woodlands along the Pamir River.
Common plants found in these areas include pistachio, walnut, apple and sagebrush. Montane grasslands and shrublands are existent in the province, with the Hindu Kush alpine meadow in the high mountains in the northern and southwestern regions; the Wakhan corridor contains two montane grassland and shrubland regions: the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe and in the Pamir Mountains and Kuh-e Safed Khers in Darwaz region. South of Fayzabad the terrain becomes dominated by xeric shrublands. Common vegetation includes thorny bushes, zizyphus and Amygdatus. Paropamisus xeric woodlands can be found in central areas. Common vegetation includes almond, pistachio and sea-buckthorn; the area has a long history like the rest of Afghanistan, dating to its conquering by the Achaemenid Empire and beyond. Badakhshan etymologically derives from an official title; the suffix of the name, -ān, means the region belonged to someone with the title badaxš. The territory was ruled by the Uzbek Khanate of Bukhara between the early 16th century and the mid-18th century.
It was given to Ahmad Shah Durrani by Murad Beg of Bukhara after a treaty of friendship was reached in or about 1750 and became part of the Durrani Empire. It was ruled by the Durranis followed by the Barakzai dynasty, was untouched by the British during the three Anglo-Afghan wars that were fought in the 19th and 20th centuries, it remained peaceful for about 100 years until the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War at which point the Mujahideen began a rebellion against the central Afghan government. During the 1990s, much of the area was controlled by forces loyal to Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Massoud, who were de facto the national government until 1996. Badakhshan was the only province that the Taliban did not conquer during their rule from 1996 to 2001. However, during the course of the wars a non-Taliban Islamic emirate was established in Badakhshan by Mawlawi Shariqi, paralleling the Islamic Revolutionary State of Afghanistan in neighboring Nuristan. Rabbani, a Badakhshan native, Massoud, were the last remnants of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance during the peak of Taliban control in 2001.
Badakhshan was thus one of the few provinces of the country that witnessed little insurgency in the Afghan wars - however during the 2010s Taliban insurgents managed to attack and take control of several districts in the province. On 26 October 2015, the 7.5 Mw Hindu Kush earthquake shook northern Afghanistan with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII. This earthquake destroyed 30,000 homes, left several hundred dead, more than 1,700 injured; the current Governor of the province is Shah Waliullah Adeeb. His predecessors were Baz Mohammad Ahmadi; the borders with neighboring Tajikistan and Pakistan are monitored by the Afghan Border Police. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police. A provincial Police Chief is assigned to lead both the ANP and the ABP; the Police Chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by the military, including the NATO-led forces. Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan province, sits on the Kokcha River and has an approximate population of 50,000.
The chief commercial and administrative center of northeast Afghanistan and the Pamir region, Fayzabad has rice and flour mills. Fayzabad Airport serves the province with regular direct flights to Kabul; the percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 13% in 2005 to 21% in 2011. The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 2% in 2011. The overall literacy rate fell from 31% in 2005 to 26% in 2011; the overall net enrolment rate increased from 46% in 2005 to 68% in 2011. Despite massive mineral reserves, Badakhshan is one of the most destitute areas in the world. Opium poppy growing is the only real source of income in the province and Badakhshan has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, due to the complete lack of health infrastructure, inaccessible locations, bitter winters of the province. BORNA Institute of Higher Education being the first private university located on the bank of Kokcha river. Lapis lazuli has been mined in the Sar-e-Sang mines, located in the Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan, for over 6,000 years.
The mines were the largest and most well-known source in ancient times. Most recent
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is the land warfare branch of the Afghan Armed Forces. It is under the Ministry of Defense in Kabul and is trained by US-led NATO forces; the ANA is divided into six corps, with the 201st in Kabul followed by the 203rd in Gardez, 205th in Kandahar, 207th in Herat, 209th in Mazar-i-Sharif and the 215th in Lashkar Gah. The current Chief of Staff of the ANA is Lieutenant General Mohammad Sharif Yaftali; the Afghan National Army traces its roots to the early 18th century when the Hotak dynasty was established in Kandahar followed by Ahmad Shah Durrani's rise to power. It was reorganized in 1880 during Emir Abdur Rahman Khan's reign. Afghanistan remained neutral during the Second World Wars. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the Afghan Army was equipped by the Soviet Union. After the resignation of President Najibullah in 1992, the Islamic State of Afghanistan took control of the Army; that government was driven from power in 1996 by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which lasted until late 2001 when NATO invaded the country.
By 2014, most of Afghanistan came under government control with NATO playing a supporting role. The majority of training of the ANA is undertaken in the Afghan National Security University. In 2017, the ANA had 175,000 soldiers out of an authorized strength of 195,000. Afghans have served in the army of the Ghaznavids, Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals; the Afghan National Army traces its origin to the early 18th century when the Hotak dynasty rose to power in Kandahar and defeated the Persian Safavid Empire at the Battle of Gulnabad in 1722. When Ahmad Shah Durrani formed the Durrani Empire in 1747, the Afghan Army fought a number of battles in the Punjab region of India during the 19th century. One of the famous battles was the 1761 Battle of Panipat in which the Afghan army decisively defeated the Hindu Maratha Empire; the Afghans fought with the Sikh Empire, until the Sikh Marshal Hari Singh Nalwa died and Sikh conquests stopped. In 1842, the British unsuccessfully tried to conquer Afghanistan, resulting in the 1842 retreat from Kabul.
At the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Afghan War, Ali Ahmad Jalali cites sources saying that the regular army was about 50,000 strong and consisted of 62 infantry and 16 cavalry regiments, with 324 guns organized in horse and mountain artillery batteries. Sedra cites Jalali, who writes that'..although Amir Shir Ali Khan is credited for founding the modern Afghan Army, it was only under Abdur Rahman that it became a viable and effective institution.' In 1880 Amir Abdur Rahman Khan established a newly equipped Afghan Army with help from the British. The Library of Congress Country Study for Afghanistan states: When came to the throne, the army was nonexistent. With the assistance of a liberal financial loan from the British, plus their aid in the form of weapons and other military supplies, he began a 20-year task of creating a respectable regular force by instituting measures that formed the long-term basis of the military system; these included increasing the equalization of military obligation by setting up a system known as the hasht nafari.
Further improvements to the Army were made by King Amanullah Khan in the early 20th century just before the Third Anglo-Afghan War. King Amanullah fought against the British in 1919, resulting in Afghanistan becoming independent after the Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed, it appears from reports of Naib Sular Abdur Rahim's career that a Cavalry Division was in existence in the 1920s, with him being posted to the division in Herat Province in 1913 and Mazar-i-Sharif after 1927. The Afghan Army was expanded during King Zahir Shah's reign, starting in 1933. In 1953, Lieutenant General Mohammed Daoud, cousin of the King who had served as Minister of Defence, was transferred from command of the Central Corps in Kabul to become Prime Minister of Afghanistan. Periodic border clashes with Pakistan seem to have taken place between 1950 and 1961. From 1949 to 1961, Afghanistan-Pakistan skirmishes took place along the frontier, culminating in fighting in Bajaur Agency in September 1960; this led to a breakoff in diplomatic relations between the two countries in September 1961.
From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the Afghan Army received training and equipment from the Soviet Union. In February - March 1957, the first group of Soviet military specialists was sent to Kabul to train Afghan officers and non-commissioned officers. At the time, there seems to have been significant Turkish influence in the Afghan Armed Forces, which waned after the Soviet advisors arrived. In the early 1970s, Soviet military assistance was increased; the number of Soviet military specialists increased from 1,500 in 1973 to 5,000 by April 1978. The senior Soviet specialist at this time was a Major General I. S. Bondarets, from 1975 to 1978, the senior Soviet military adviser was Major General L. N. Gorelov. Before the 1978 Saur Revolution, according to military analyst George Jacobs, the Army included "some three armored divisions, eight infantry divisions (averaging
Counterinsurgency in Northern Afghanistan
The following addresses the events in Northern Afghanistan between April 2009 and 2014. While this part of the country had long been peaceful compared to the all-out war zones of the south and east, tensions would flare up again in 2008 when the German soldiers deployed to the area came under attack more leading to the deaths of the several soldiers. Hindered by national caveats, the deteroriating security situation prompted the German-led Regional Command North to launch a series of operations to take on the rising insurgency. Concerted operations began after an insurgent attack on PRT Kunduz within minutes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's departure from a visit. Within two years, the German presence would be doubled and additional reinforcements from the American ISAF contingent were called in, including heavy German armoured vehicles and US aviation assets, allowing for a more aggressive approach towards the insurgency; when German troops took over nominal control over Afghanistan's north in 2003, the area was counted among the safest in the whole country, with places such as Kunduz earning the nickname "Bad Kundus" among German troops due to the notable absence of greater threats to peace and security.
This misjudgement was a result of the caveat-ridden German military's approach to keeping the peace in the area, reaching out not far enough to meet resistance. However, with an increasing toll from suicide and roadside bomb attacks it soon became obvious that NATO's dangerously restrained and under-strength forces in the area—especially from Germany and Hungary—were not able to maintain public order in rural areas. Moreover, a Pashtun minority in several regional "pockets" began to change allegiance and support opposition movements against both foreign troops and other Afghan ethnicities; these conditions would facilitate the insurgency's arrival in the north and threaten a crucial line of communications between the northern border of Afghanistan and Kabul, the capital. Due to similar problems in Regional Command West's area of responsibility, other insurgent groups and bands of criminals were able to get a foothold in the far west of Regional Command North as well. Qari Bashir Haqqani, the Taliban commander for Kunduz province, had in 2008 vowed to increase his men's efforts against the Germans.
Reluctant to engage directly, the Taliban relied on guerilla tactics, killing three Germans over the year and wounding more than thirty along with causing casualties among the mountain Afghan security forces. This trend continued until 2009. In mid-2009 though, the number of direct contacts had exceeded the total of the prior seven years. A similar development struck Faryab province and the surrounding districts: having taken action to rout the Taliban, the Norwegian forces of Provincial Reconstruction Team Meymaneh saw themselves threatened by insurgent activities. ISAF commander Stanley McChrystal expressed his concerns about Northern Afghanistan, he described Kunduz and the northwest of the country as places where security was deteriorating in a worrying manner, requiring the concerted actions of all allies. With casualties rising, Berlin agreed to revise its contingent's rules of engagement; the German military began joint operations with Afghan security forces in accordance with ISAF's "Afghan-face" strategy in April 2009, continued to conduct its own operations to improve security as well as supporting other allies in their operations.
Halfway through the year, three major hotspots of anti-government and anti-ISAF activity had been identified: Kunduz's Chardara district with the adjacent road to Baghlan province, Baghlan province itself, the western Faryab province. Following the Kunduz airstrike against two captured fuel tankers in September 2009 which killed insurgents as well as scores of civilians who had gathered to steal fuel from a Taliban-captured fuel truck, the German government reclassified the Afghanistan deployment in February 2010 as an "armed conflict within the parameters of international law", allowing German forces to act without risk of prosecution under German law. While the German contingent had relied on armoured and -armed infantry mobility vehicles such as the Dingo and the Fennek armoured reconnaissance vehicle, heavy weapons were now brought to the area. While addressing troops in the wake of a deadly attack on April 15, 2010 Minister of Defence Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg announced his decision to deploy Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Pzh2000 self propelled artillery to Kunduz in order to better protect troops and "max" their "punch".
The military would go on to acquire new weapons and vehicles better suited for combat in the hot and rugged Afghan countryside. Around the same time, US forces were called into Northern Afghanistan to reinforce the German contingent and provide Regional Command North with direly needed aviation and air mobility assets. ISAF's headquarters in Kabul decided to upgrade its northern presence and placed a German Major-General in command. Concerted operations began with numerous raids and "provocative patrols" into the Taliban heartland dubbed "Talibania" by German troops. Four insurgents and two ANA soldiers were killed in various engagements and more than 40 insurgents got captured, with large amounts of weapons and explosives seized. German troops tried to maintain a presence in remote areas during these weeks and were attacked in the face of an overall deteriorating situation in all RC-N: On April 17, 2010, a Norwegian officer wa
Al-Qaeda is a militant Sunni Islamist multi-national organization founded in 1988 by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, several other Arab volunteers during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda operates as a network of Salafist jihadists; the organization has been designated as a terrorist group by the United Nations Security Council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and various other countries. Al-Qaeda has mounted attacks on non-military and military targets in various countries, including the 1998 United States embassy bombings, the September 11 attacks, the 2002 Bali bombings; the United States government responded to the September 11 attacks by launching the "War on Terror", which sought to undermine al-Qaeda and its allies. The deaths of key leaders, including that of Osama bin Laden, have led al-Qaeda's operations to shift from the top down organization and planning of attacks, to the planning of attacks which are carried out by associated groups and lone-wolf operators.
Al-Qaeda characteristically employs attacks which include suicide attacks and the simultaneous bombing of several targets. Activities which are ascribed to al-Qaeda involve the actions of those who have made a pledge of loyalty to bin Laden, or to the actions of "al-Qaeda-linked" individuals who have undergone training in one of its camps in Afghanistan, Iraq or Sudan. Al-Qaeda ideologues envision the removal of all foreign influences in Muslim countries, the creation of a new caliphate ruling over the entire Muslim world. Among the beliefs ascribed to al-Qaeda members is the conviction that a Christian–Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam; as Salafist jihadists, members of al-Qaeda believe that the killing of non-combatants is religiously sanctioned. This belief ignores the aspects of religious scripture which forbid the murder of non-combatants and internecine fighting. Al-Qaeda opposes what it regards as man-made laws, wants to replace them with a strict form of sharia law. Al-Qaeda has carried out many attacks on targets.
Al-Qaeda is responsible for instigating sectarian violence among Muslims. Al-Qaeda's leaders regard liberal Muslims, Shias and other sects as heretical and its members and sympathizers have attacked their mosques and gatherings. Examples of sectarian attacks include the Yazidi community bombings, the Sadr City bombings, the Ashoura massacre and the April 2007 Baghdad bombings. Following the death of bin Laden in 2011, the group has been led by Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Qaeda's philosophy calls for the centralization of decision making, while allowing for the decentralization of execution. However, after the War on Terror, al-Qaeda's leadership has become isolated; as a result, the leadership has become decentralized, the organization has become regionalized into several al-Qaeda groups. Many terrorism experts do not believe that the global jihadist movement is driven at every level by al-Qaeda's leadership. However, bin Laden held considerable ideological sway over some Muslim extremists before his death.
Experts argue that al-Qaeda has fragmented into a number of disparate regional movements, that these groups bear little connection with one another. This view mirrors the account given by Osama bin Laden in his October 2001 interview with Tayseer Allouni: this matter isn't about any specific person and... is not about the al-Qa'idah Organization. We are the children of an Islamic Nation, with Prophet Muhammad as its leader, our Lord is one... and all the true believers are brothers. So the situation isn't like the West portrays it, that there is an'organization' with a specific name and so on; that particular name is old. It was born without any intention from us. Brother Abu Ubaida... created a military base to train the young men to fight against the vicious, brutal, terrorizing Soviet empire... So this place was called ` The Base', as in a training base, so this name became. We aren't separated from this nation. We are the children of a nation, we are an inseparable part of it, from those public *** which spread from the far east, from the Philippines, to Indonesia, to Malaysia, to India, to Pakistan, reaching Mauritania... and so we discuss the conscience of this nation.
Bruce Hoffman, sees al-Qaeda as a cohesive network, led from the Pakistani tribal areas. Al-Qaeda has the following direct affiliates: Al-Qaeda's indirect affiliates includes the following, some of which have left the organization and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant: Osama bin Laden was the Senior Operations Chief of al-Qaeda prior to his assassination by US forces on May 1, 2011. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman was alleged to be second in command prior to his death on August 22, 2011. Bin Laden was advised by a Shura Council; the group was estimated to consist of 20–30 people. One such member is thought to have been Sayed Tayib al-Madani. Ayman al-Zawahiri had been al-Qaeda's Deputy Operations Chief and assumed the role of commander after bin Laden's death. Al-Zawahiri replaced Saif al-Adel. On June 5, 2012, Pakistani intelligence officials announced that al-Rahman's alleged successor Abu Yahya al-Libi had been killed in Pakistan. Nasir al-Wuhayshi was said to have become second in command in 2013.
He was the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, until he was killed in a US airstrike in June 2015. Al-Qaeda's network was built from scratch as a conspiratoria