On August 11, 1988, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Osama bin Laden and a few trusted associates gathered in a room and created the terrorist network known as Al Qaeda. In attendance were Saudis, Egyptians, a Palestinian... and an American, who jotted down notes. Americans have always played important roles in Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist organizations, although rarely reaching the very top echelons.
Today, Al Qaeda's Americans number among the world's most wanted terrorists, devoting their lives to the work of military jihad in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and beyond. Here's a look at some of the most interesting and significant American jihadists at large in the world today.
For a deeper exploration of the hundreds of Americans who have taken up the banner of jihad over the past 30 years, check out "Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam," in bookstores now.