On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists (with strong ties to Al Qaeda), on four separate planes, slaughtered almost 3000 civilians at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon ("9/11 Attacks"). Al Qaeda is widely known as the most feared terrorist organization. It is a global Islamic militant organization, and its location cannot be determined because of its secrecy and the fact that its militants operate all over the world. It commits acts that are considered terrorism. Terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims (Currie 70). Al Qaeda plans to do just this with the terror that they invoke. Al Qaeda did not start as an organization made for terror. Instead, it started as a legitimate military base for the training of the mujahideen, who were the group fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden started Al Qaeda with the money that his wealthy Saudi father left him when he died, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan (Moyer). He called the invasion an attack on Islam itself. Soon enough, though, Al Qaeda grew into a group recruiting bloody jihadis, spreading fear, and punishing those against their views. (Currie 70-71)
Bin Laden only focused on destroying military installations and soldiers and left civilians alone as much as possible in Afghanistan, therefore being constructive. He supplied many resources to the war effort, thereby playing a major role in making the Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan. Bin Laden bought military equipment and recruited many soldiers whose ideas of Islam matched his. Due to the fact that the mujahideen had been more trouble than the Soviets had expected, the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan. (Currie 72)
Although none of his early war efforts could be labeled as terrorism, “bin Laden’s experiences in Afghanistan were critical to his development as a terrorist” (Currie 72). Osama bin Laden first, developed the idea that his loyalty would not first go to any state or nation, instead his first loyalty would go to his religion. Osama developed this idea because when he was in Afghanistan, he saw many Muslims from different nations, working together to defend the entire Muslim world. A final but extremely important political lesson that he learned in Afghanistan is that if “given sufficient resolve by the opposition, even a superpower could be defeated” (Currie 73). This is basically saying that if someone has enough willpower, they can in theory, do almost anything. Bin Laden will be fueled by these two key ideas coming out of his war efforts.
At the end of the Soviet-Afghan War, bin Laden decided to return to Saudi Arabia, where he became involved in the controversial invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. The main cause of his involvement was due to the fact that America was supplying aid to Kuwait. He believed that America had no business sending troops into the Islamic world at all and strongly opposed the Gulf War. He...