Al-Qaeda and ISIS twenty years after 9/11
Al-Qaeda and ISIS twenty years after 9/11
Podcast / Jihad in Modern Conflict 1 minutes

Al-Qaeda and ISIS twenty years after 9/11

In this episode of Hold Your Fire! – the first in a series looking at the legacy of the 9/11 attacks – Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh discuss the ebbs and flows of Islamist militancy over two decades of the “global war on terror” and the threat posed by al-Qaeda and ISIS today.

On the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a new episode of Hold Your Fire! looks at the shadow cast by the “global war on terror” across South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh discuss how Islamist militants – groups like al-Qaeda and later ISIS – have fared in twenty years marked by the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the 2011 Arab revolutions, the war in Syria and U.S. counter-terrorism operations in many other corners of the world. They talk about al-Qaeda’s recovery after losing its safe havens in Afghanistan, its vicious local branch in Iraq and its expansion through affiliates elsewhere. They also discuss how al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch exploited the Syrian war and evolved into ISIS, and the later struggle between ISIS and al-Qaeda. They take stock of where Islamist militancy stands today, with groups fighting in an increasing number of warzones across Africa and in light of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. They examine what efforts against militants look like today and some of the flaws of existing counter-terrorism policy.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This episode is the first in a series on this podcast looking at the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the impact of the “global war on terror”. For Crisis Group's other publications on this topic, see our series The Legacy of 9/11 and the "War on Terror”.


Executive Vice President
Naz Modirzadeh
Board Member and Harvard Professor of International Law and Armed Conflicts

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