Its associates have carried out attacks against prospects in a range of countries around the world, the most prominent being the September 11, 2001 attacks that were on the twin towers and the pentagon in New York and Northern Virginia. After the September 11 attacks, the United States government started a wide military and intelligence operation commonly known as the War on Terrorism, with the objective of dismantling al-Qaeda and killing or capturing its operatives and members.
The leadership of this terrorist organization is held by Osama bin Laden, an active character in Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Second to him in the organization is Ayman al Zawahiri who is an Egyptian surgeon. Apart from this other regional leaders also exist. One senior al-Qaeda member, Muhammad Atef was killed in the U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan, and another top commander, Abu Zubaydah, was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002. In March 2003, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and al-Qaeda's treasurer, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi were also captured in Pakistan.
The Al Qaeda network basically extracts its funds and financing from extremists around the world and the Arab world that is rolling in money from oil exportation. When Soviet invasion in Afghanistan had to be stopped United States itself funded Osama bin laden, but since the first terrorist attacks the funding was stopped.
The organization does not operate from a single head quarter but from different locations and through different groups. Any terrorist act performed by the organization is accepted in a video tape usually launched after the activity. The organization has branches in hundred countries around the globe including the United States. Anti terrorist campaigns have successfully broken Al-Qaeda's cells in the United States, Albania, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, United Kingdom, and Uganda.
There are different planners for different activites, mostly people related to the region of the terrorist activity are selected for planning the terrorist activity that is going to take place.
After the fall of the talibans in Afghanistan the main head quarters of Al Qaeda has been shattered and now the organization operates from different locations through out the world. Al Qaeda has targeted American and other Western interests, Jewish targets and Muslim countries it sees as corrupt or non religious plus the the Saudi monarchy. The list of attacks include.
Bomb attacks on Madrid commuter trains, which killed nearly 200 people and resulted in more than 1,800 injuries.
Car bomb attacks on three compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Car bomb attack and an attempt that did not succeed to shoot down an Israeli plane with missiles, both in Mombasa, Kenya.
Attack on a French tanker off the coast of Yemen.
Many bombings in Pakistan
Explosion of a fuel tanker in Tunisia.
The major Hijacking attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The main methods of attacking used are suicide bombing, planting bombs at locations and hijacking planes. The attacks have led to the death of millions of innocent people and have left a mark of terror on people,