Al-Qaeda is the militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden that was responsible for various acts of terrorism, including the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, as well as the attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Bin Laden organized al-Qaeda in opposition to the Soviet Union during the Afghan War of the 1980s. The group merged, moved, and established itself in various capacities and locations following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, al-Qaeda and the Taliban government of Afghanistan became prime military targets of the United States. The US invaded Afghanistan, but it took nearly ten years of fighting before al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was located and killed by US forces on May 2, 2011. Though weakend by bin Laden’s death, al-Qaeda continues under the leadership of Ayman al-Zawahiri.

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