Researches suggest that al-Qaeda was formed at an August 11, 1988, meeting between "several senior leaders" of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Abdullah Azzam, and bin Laden, where it was agreed to join bin Laden's money with the expertise of the Islamic Jihad organization and take up the jihadist cause elsewhere after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan.
On February 23, 1998, al-Zawahiri issued a joint fatwa with Osama bin Laden under the title "World Islamic Front Against Jews and Crusaders". Zawahiri, not bin Laden, is thought to have been the actual author of the fatwa.
Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri organized an al-Qaeda congress on June 24, 1998. A week prior to the beginning of the conference, a group of well-armed assistants to al-Zawahiri had left by jeeps in the direction of Herat. Following the instructions of their patron, in the town of Koh-i-Doshakh, they met three unknown Slavic-looking men who had arrived from Russia via Iran. After their arrival in Kandahar, they split up. One of the Russians was directly escorted to al-Zawahiri and he did not participate in the conference.
Following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, al-Zawahiri's whereabouts are unknown, but he is generally thought to be in tribal Pakistan. Although he releases videos of himself frequently (see Messages of Ayman al-Zawahiri), al-Zawahiri did not appear alongside bin Laden in any of them after 2003. However, despite a series of operations, they were unable to capture him.
On October 7, 2001, the War in Afghanistan began when U.S. and British forces initiated aerial bombing campaigns targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda camps, then later invaded Afghanistan with ground troops of the Special Forces.
Ayman al-Zawahiri's first wife Azza and two of their six children, Mohammad and Aisha, were killed in an air strike on Afghanistan by US forces in late December 2001, following the September 11 attacks on the U.S. After an American aerial bombardment of a Taliban-controlled building at Gardez, Azza was pinned under debris of a guesthouse roof.
This eventually led to the overthrow of the Taliban rule of Afghanistan with the Fall of Kandahar on December 7, 2001, by U.S.-led coalition forces. Conflict in Afghanistan between the Taliban insurgency and the Afghan forces backed by NATO Resolute Support Mission is ongoing.
On December 27, 2001, a second bin Laden video was released. In the video, bin Laden said: It has become clear that the West in general and America in particular have an unspeakable hatred for Islam. ... It is the hatred of crusaders. Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people. ... We say that the end of the United States is imminent, whether Bin Laden or his followers are alive or dead, for the awakening of the Muslim umma (nation) has occurred.
U.S. and Afghanistan forces raided the mountain caves in Tora Bora between August 14–16, 2007. The military was drawn to the area after receiving intelligence of a pre-Ramadan meeting held by al-Qaeda members. After killing dozens of al-Qaeda and Taliban members, they did not find either Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Afghanistan Blizzard was a fierce blizzard that struck Afghanistan on the 10th of January 2008. Temperatures fell to a low of -30 C, with up to 180 centimetres of snow in the more mountainous regions, killing at least 926 people. The weather also claimed more than 100,000 sheep and goats, and nearly 315,000 cattle died.
Though Major-General Sir Sebastian Roberts, General Officer Commanding the Household Division, had said William's deployment was possible, the Prince's position as second-in-line to the throne and the convention of ministers advising against placing that person into dangerous situations cast doubts on William's chances of seeing combat. These doubts increased after Prince Harry's deployment was canceled in 2007 due to "specific threats". William, instead, went on to train in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, obtaining his commission as a sub-lieutenant in the former and flying officer in the latter—both broadly equivalent to the army rank of lieutenant. After completing his training, William undertook an attachment with the Royal Air Force, undergoing an intensive, four-month training course at RAF Cranwell. Upon completing the course on 11 April 2008, he was presented with his RAF wings by his father, who had received his own wings after training at Cranwell. During this secondment, William flew to Afghanistan in a C-17 Globemaster that repatriated the body of Trooper Robert Pearson.
As of 2 May 2011, he became the leader of al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden. This was confirmed by a press release from al-Qaeda's general command on June 16. Al-Zawahiri's succession to command of al-Qaeda was announced on several of their websites on June 16, 2011. On the same day, al-Qaeda renewed its position that Israel was an illegitimate state and that it wouldn't accept any compromise on Palestine.
On 7 September 2012, Harry arrived at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan as part of the 100-strong 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps, to begin a four-month combat tour as a co-pilot and gunner for an Apache helicopter.
On 10 September, within days of arriving in Afghanistan, it was reported that the Taliban had threatened his life. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid spoke to Reuters and was quoted as saying: "We are using all our strength to get rid of him, either by killing or kidnapping." He added, "We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him."