Timeline: Fighting al Qaeda

A timeline of the fight against the al Qaeda terror network.

Afp August 17, 2011

WASHINGTON: In the run-up to the 10th anniversary of the September, 2001 attacks on the United States, here is a timeline of the fight against the al Qaeda terror network.

September 11, 2001: Almost 3,000 people die when al Qaeda suicide hijackers take control of four US passenger planes. They smash two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing them to collapse; one hits the Pentagon building near Washington and the fourth crashes in a field in Pennsylvania.

September 17: US president George W. Bush calls for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to be taken "dead or alive." Bin Laden has been based in Afghanistan since 1996.

September 18: The US Congress authorizes Bush to use force against countries, organizations and individuals involved in the attacks.

September 28: The United Nations unanimously adopts Resolution 1373 against "terrorists" and the states that harbor them.

October 7: US and British forces pound Afghanistan's Taliban regime, opening a military front in their war on terrorism. The Taliban is quickly overthrown.

October 26: Bush signs into law a sweeping anti-terrorism bill, dubbed the Patriot Act, dramatically expanding police and surveillance powers to "counter a threat like no other our nation has faced." Renewed in May, 2011 for four years.

November 13: Bush signs an order that would allow for non-US suspected terrorists to be tried before a special military panel instead of in civilian courts.

January 11, 2002: The United States flies a first batch of prisoners captured in the Afghan war into a high-security naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

March 28: Palestinian Abu Zubeida, Bin Laden's right-hand man, is arrested in Pakistan.

November 3: al Qaeda's key operative in Yemen, Ali Qaed Senyan Al-Harthi is killed in a CIA drone strike in the country.

March 1, 2003: al Qaeda number three and suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, is arrested in Pakistan.

September 10: Bin Laden and top aide Ayman al-Zawahiri appear in taped footage that shows the pair in an "undetermined mountain area."

March 19, 2004: Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri are safe and in Afghanistan, not neighboring Pakistan where an intense manhunt is under way, a Taliban spokesman says.

May 2, 2005: Libyan Abu Faraj al-Libbi, al Qaeda's number three and the head of the network in Pakistan, is arrested in the northwest of the country.

August 11: A Jordanian of Palestinian origin, Abu Qatada, presented as al Qaeda's "ambassador" in Europe, is arrested in Britain for the second time.

June 7, 2006: The head of the Iraqi section of al Qaeda, Jordanian Abu Mussab al-Zarkawi, is killed in an air raid during a US-Iraqi operation to the north of Baghdad.

January 29, 2008: An al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, Abu Laith al-Libi, is killed by a US missile in northwest Pakistan.

August: The US steps up its drone campaign against al Qaeda militants and Pakistani insurgents in Afghanistan's tribal zones.

January 20, 2009: US President Barack Obama comes to power. He orders an intensification of drone strikes, considerably weakening al Qaeda.

August 5: Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud is killed in a US missile attack on his South Waziristan tribal stronghold.

June 1, 2010: al Qaeda says Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, its number three leader and chief of operations in Afghanistan, has been killed.

May 1, 2011: Obama announces that US forces killed bin Laden and recovered his body during a commando operation at Abbottabad.