The Fall and Rise of Al-Qaeda and its Leader

Journalist Peter Bergen believes that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have regained strength even though the United States nearly destroyed their organization in 2002.

Five years ago, al-Qaeda was on the run and bin Laden was facing internal criticism that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were a mistake because it led to the fall of the Taliban and the loss of Afghanistan as a safe haven. Now the terrorist organization is resurgent in Pakistan, its leader is able to reach millions of people through his videos and recordings, militant organizations are aligning themselves with al-Qaeda, the Taliban are reclaiming Afghanistan and terrorism is on the rise around the world.

Bergan says this is because of the Bush administration's decision to underman and underfund its war in Afghanistan, focusing instead on Iraq. Furthermore, the war in Iraq has helped radicalize parts of the Middle East that were relatively calm before the U.S. invasion.

And when it comes to insurgencies, they are winning as long as they are not losing. So for the moment, Bergan says, the insurgencies and bin Laden's al-Qaeda are winning.

Bergen talks to Alex Chadwick about terrorism's resurgence and his article in the latest issue of The New Republic called "War of Error: How Osama Bin Laden Beat George Bush."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.