“The Afghan war was meant to deprive al-Qa’ida of the protection of its Taliban allies and destroy it as a fighting force. But the Istanbul bombings are the latest example of how the organisation has reinvented itself to continue its jihad.” This from Financial Times.
“Al-Qai’da has proved to be a many-headed hydra. One was decapitated in Afghanistan, with many of Osama bin Laden’s senior lieutenants killed or captured, and much of its financial resources uncovered and blocked. But the organisation has now sprung up again in a number of countries in a franchised form. The recent attacks in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya and, possibly, Iraq show that smaller organisations, often with fighters trained in al-Qa’ida camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are able to carry out operations without overt help from Bin Laden.”
Later on the article says that “British and US security sources say around 20,000 people from 47 countries passed through the al-Qa’ida camps from the mid-1990s until the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.”
Other estimates are much higher. Some believe there may have been as many as 120,000.
“Michael Pillsbury, a Pentagon terrorism consultant, argued that the evolution of the terrorist groups is analogous to a process of corporate merger and acquisition. Regionally focused groups with their own agendas join with al-Qa’ida to learn their operational techniques or use their contacts, but are not subordinate to it.”
(Pardon my digression, but if my memory serves me well, this gentleman was the original Mike Doonesbury.)
“For example, Jemaah Islamiah seeks to create a pan-Islamic state in Asia, an agenda that has little to do with driving US forces out of Saudi Arabia or other goals of Bin Laden’s. ‘They like to get advice and equipment from al-Qa’ida but still have their own political agenda,’ Mr Pillsbury argued.”
Actually, Mike, their agendas are the same. They all want to establish pan-Islamic states wherever they can. They are on record over and over again about this. See the evidence in Onward Muslim Soldiers.