POSTED ON September 10, 2021

Diminished, but not Defeated: The Evolution of al-Qaeda Since September 11, 2001

Over the past twenty years, al-Qaeda has proven to be resilient and adaptive in its efforts to survive the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Twenty years after the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States, perpetrated by al-Qaeda, the organization looks much different than it did at the time. “We are no longer dealing with the same terrorist threat, or even the same al-Qaeda, as we did on September 11,” says Ali Soufan. “What we have today is something more complex and resilient, and an organization that has learned lessons from our policies and counterterrorism approaches. We did a lot to secure the U.S. homeland, but in our handling of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, we may have shown terrorist groups that all it requires to outlast a superpower is patience.”


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