Al-Qaeda has served as the principal enemy of the U.S. War on Terror launched after 9/11 for over twenty years. Osama bin Laden, the group’s infamous founder, was killed in Pakistan over a decade ago but al-Qaeda continued without him and now encompasses regional terrorist affiliates stretching from Africa to Asia. Al-Qaeda maintains close relations with the Taliban and maintains the expressed intent to target the West, particularly the United States. However, al-Qaeda central failed to conduct a single successful terrorist attack against the United State or Europe throughout the 2010s and its capabilities are degraded according to most official assessments.
Should the al-Qaeda threat still give leaders in Washington pause or does the group represent yesterday’s fight? How should policymakers approach al-Qaeda and prioritize it relative to other threats, including non-terrorist threats like climate change and global pandemics? Is there a way to mitigate al-Qaeda’s potential harm while shifting the national focus elsewhere? What is the legacy of the War on Terror vis-à-vis al-Qaeda?
Join us for a panel and informal debate that explores these questions and more with Tricia Bacon, Assistant Professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs, Daniel Byman, professor at Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service’s Security Studies Program, and Asfandyar Mir, Senior Expert at the United States Institute of Peace. Quincy Institute’s Adam Weinstein will moderate.