February 1989 - August 1998
The Soviet war in Afghanistan ended. 250,000 Mujahideen fought the war. The withdrawal of Soviets created a vacuum leading to the formation of Taliban later.
Iraq invaded Kuwait. American troops were deployed in Saudi Arabia that angered Osama bin Laden since he believed that presence of foreign troops in the “land of two holy mosques” profanes the sacred soil.
A truck bomb rammed into World Trade Centre, killing 6 and injuring 1,042. The attacker planned to break the foundation of tower one, assuming that it would lead to the knocking down of tower two as well. It didn’t happen.
Saudi Arabia revoked Osama’s citizenship due to his continuous verbal assault on King Fahad. His family cut his $7 million a year stipend; publicly disowned him and his assets were frozen.
The Taliban finally conquered the capital city of Kabul and set up the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan.
Al Qaeda’s Islamic Study Committee issued a religious edict, fatwa, telling Muslims to kill Americans.
Truck bombs exploded outside US embassies in major East African cities resulting in the death of more than 300. In response, the US launched missiles in Afghanistan, but with little harm to Al Qaeda network.
December 1999 - September 2001
An Indian Airlines flight was hijacked and taken to Kandhar under Taliban’s shelter in order to demand the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad, from Indian prison in exchange of passengers in the plane.
Al Qaeda militants in Yemen bombed the missile destroyer USS Cole in a suicide attack, killing 17 US servicemen and damaging the vessel while it lay offshore.
The September 11, 2001 attacks were one of the most devastating terrorist acts in the world history, killing approximately 3,000 people. The two commercial airliners were deliberately flown into the World Trade Center towers, a third into The Pentagon, and a fourth, originally intended to target the US Capitol, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Less than 24 hours after the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and declared the attacks to be an attack against all 19 NATO member countries.
Messages issued by Bin Laden after 9/11, praised the attacks, and explained the attackers’ motivation. Bin Laden legitimised the attacks by saying that the US is actively oppressing the Muslims. He claimed ‘right to attack in reprisal’ and said the targets were not women and children but America’s icons of military and economic power.
President Bush announces war on terror on Sept 16th. He said, “This crusade this war on terrorism is going to take a while... And the American people must be patient. I’m going to be patient. But I can assure the American people I am determined War on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it doesn't end here.
US asked Taliban leader Mullah Omar to surrender bin Laden. The Taliban offered to turn him over to a neutral country for trial, if the US provides proof of bin Laden’s complicity in the attacks. Bush said, “We know he's guilty. Turn him over.”
October 2001-March 2003
The US and allied forces attacked Afghanistan on Oct 7th to capture bin Laden and destroy al Qaida network. The military action was called Operation Enduring Freedom.
America introduced the Patriot act, leading to more scrutiny and regulation. It broadened the secretion of law enforcement agencies in detaining, and deporting terrorism suspects.
President Bush labeled Iran, Iraq and North Korea as 'Axis of Evil', accusing the countries of seeking weapons of mass destruction and helping terrorism.
With pressure from world forces, Pakistan finally imposed a ban on terrorist groups like Jaish e Muhammad and Laskar e Taiba.
Al Qaida affiliates bombed a popular tourist site in Bali, which was frequented by foreign visitors.
It killed 202, including 88 Australians, and injured 240.
Chechan rebels demanding freedom from Russia took hostage of a crowded Moscow theatre with 850 people for two-and a half days. Russian forces used an unknown gas to subdue the rebels. Around 170 people died including 39 of the attackers.
The Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed kidnapped and murdered the American journalist Daniel Pearl in an operation supported by the al-Qaeda.
The US unilaterally attacked Iraq accusing the country of having weapons of mass destruction. In April, Saddam Hussein's government fell.
May 2003 - January 2004
President Bush announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.
May 2003 to 2008
A series of deadly bomb blasts took place throughout Iraq leading to sectarian killings. In 2003, the Imam Ali mosque was bombed; in 2004, Karbala and Najaf were bombed; in 2006, a series of deadly bombs in a single day killed 215. It provoked Shiite militias to retaliate.
A series of suicide bombs were unleashed on Casablanca, Morocco on the night of 16th May. 14 bombers were involved, all aged 20-23.
A twin car bomb exploded at lunch hour in Mumbai and killed 54 and injured 244 people. One of the blasts took place at the iconic Gateway of India and the other in a crowded jewellery market. No group claimed responsibility but it is believed to be the handiwork of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.
At a time when US President Bush was in the UK to meet British PM Tony Blair, four truck bombs were slammed into a
synagogue, the HSBC bank headquarter and the British consulate, killing 57 people, including a top British official and injuring more than 700. Most victims were Muslims.
Iraq's former president, Saddam Hussein was captured by the US forces in December 2003 from his home town and stronghold, Tikrit.
With a strong commitment to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, George Bush was re-elected as the US President for second term, despite a sustained attack from the Democrats about wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
March 2004 - July 2006
A series of coordinated bombing on commuter trains in Madrid took place three days before general elections, which the ruling party lost. It killed 191 and injured 1800. The Spanish authorities believed it was an attack inspired by al Qaida, though without al Qaida's participation.
The Pakistan Army sent 80,000 troops to launch a campaign in the Federally administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan's Waziristan region. It was aimed at destroying the al-Qaeda and Taliban presence in the region.
A report by 9/11 commission suggested more coordination and sharing of data needed between US government agencies. Though, later, this supposedly led to the leakage of classified documents to Wikileaks, allegedly by Bradley Manning.
Chechen rebels took hostage more than 1,100 people, mostly children, in Beslan, in the Caucasus region of Russia. The three day siege resulted in the killing of 334 hostages, including 186 children.
The 9/11 commission, which was investigating the Sept 11 attacks, officially declared that the attacks were planned and implemented by the al Qaida. In an Oct 2004 tape aired on Al Jazeera, bin Laden appeared to take the responsibility of the attacks
Al Qaeda formed its media production house, As-Sahab, to supply its video and audio materials, mainly using online platform
Often referred to as 7/7, the suicide attack on London's public transport during morning rush killed 52, including four bombers and injured over 700. A futile second attempt was made two weeks later.
A series of seven bombs went off in the suburban railway network of Mumbai, killing 209 and injuring over 700. According to the Mumbai Police, the operation was carried by Lashkar e Taiba and the Students Islamic Movement of India.
December 2006 - March 2009
Iraq’s former president Saddam Hussein was executed after a trial by the interim Iraqi government. During the trial, Saddam’s lawyer maintained that he was still the President of Iraq.
A motorcade carrying Pakistan’s former PM, Benazir Bhutto, was attacked killing 139, but she survived, only to be killed two months later while campaigning for upcoming elections. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility, but the claim is contested by many.
The Marriot hotel in Islamabad was attacked using a truck filled with explosion. It killed 54 and injured 266. The hotel falls in a highly secured area since it houses government buildings and foreign missions.
One of the worst terror attacks in India, it was very well-coordinated, where terrorists carried out bombings and shootings in hotels, a hospital, a Jewish centre and railway station, among others, across Mumbai. The attack killed 164 people and injured at least 308.
The attackers caught later revealed the complicity of Pakistan’s secret services, the ISI.
With the economy slowing down and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq going nowhere during the Bush regime, the charismatic Barack Obama won the presidential election, with a promise to end the war in Iraq and laid strategy to win it in Afghanistan.
The weakening Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia created a coalition with Yemeni wing to form Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and made first ever attempt in decades to assassinate against a member of Saudi royal family.
A convoy carrying Sri Lankan cricketers to a stadium was attacked by 12 gun-men in Lahore. Six members of the Lankan team were injured and an equal number of Pakistani policemen killed. It was a first attack anywhere on a national sports team since Munich massacre in 1972.
December 2009 - September 2011
A failed attempt to blow off a plane with 290 passengers on board, flying to Michigan from Amsterdam on Christmas day. The al Qaida member had sewn a plastic bomb in his underwear, but couldn't detonate it properly. The bomber’s father tipped the CIA.
Two suicide bombers attacked the Moscow metro, killing 40 and injuring over 100. Chechan rebels claimed responsibility, demanding independence from Russia.
An attempted car bomb attack at Times Square in New York failed. The bomb was defused in time after it failed to blow. The bomber, Faisal Shahzad, an US citizen of Paksitani origin, was arrested after two days while he had boarded a plane to Dubai.
The Iraq war entered a new phase since the US combat operations in Iraq officially ended. However, 50,000 US troops remained to advise and assist Iraqi forces. Soon the US forces will start training Iraqi Police.
Obama signed a bill which stops transfer of Guantanamo prisoners to mainland USA or any other country, thus practically preventing the detention facility from closing down. During election campaign he had promised to shut the centre
May 1, 2011
Osama killed in a covert midnight operation, 50 km from Islamabad near a Pakistani military academy, under direct orders from President Obama. Pakistan's authorities were unaware of operation.
A serial blast struck during evening rush hour in Mumbai at three different locations killing 17 and injuring 131.
A bomb blast at a crowded entrance of Delhi high court killed 11 and injured more than 70. HuJI claimed responsibility.