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Al-Qaeda (also al-Qaida or al-Qa'ida or al-Qa'idah) (Arabic: القاعدة al-qāʕida, translation: The Base) is an international alliance of militant Sunni jihadist organizations. Its roots can be traced back to Osama bin Laden and others around the time of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. Al-Qaeda's objectives include the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate.
Al-Qaeda has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland. Its affiliates have executed attacks against targets in various countries, the most prominent being the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Following the September 11 attacks, the United States government launched a broad military and intelligence campaign known as the War on Terrorism, with the stated aim of dismantling al-Qaeda and killing or capturing its operatives.
Due to its structure of semi-autonomous cells, al-Qaeda's size and degree of responsibility for particular attacks are difficult to establish. However, this may also be because its size and degree are exaggerated. Although the governments opposed to al-Qaeda claim that it has worldwide reach, other analysts have suggested that those governments, as well as Osama bin Laden himself, exaggerate al-Qaeda's significance in Islamist terrorism. The neologism "al-Qaedaism" is applied to the wider context of those who independently conduct similar acts through political sympathy to al-Qaeda ideology or methods or the copycat effect.