chapter  Chapter 23
Al-Qaeda
Formation and evolution
ByDonald Holbrook
Pages 11

The inception of Al-Qaeda is usually traced to a meeting in Peshawar in August 1988 of senior Arab veterans from the Soviet-Afghan war who resolved to create a 'pioneering vanguard' of Islamist militants. Al-Qaeda is a political organism moulded by a series of developments and decisions that have affected polities across the globe. The impact of the events on the development of militant Islam, and Al-Qaeda in particular, was profound. In fact, one could argue that they led to the formation of contemporary 'jihadism'. Al-Qaeda is a grouping of Islamist revolutionaries5 who reacted to these events and sought to affect their outcome. This grouping was bound together organisationally and through the personal experiences of its members as well as a collective commitment to a broadly-unified set of objectives. Al-Qaeda's composition rests on the legacy of resurgent Islamic revivalism—rural, urban and anti-colonial, counter-nationalist.