AQIM, which evolved from an Islamist insurgent faction in Algeria’s 1990s civil conflict, was formed when the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) “united” with Al Qaeda in 2006 and renamed itself in 2007. AQIM has conducted bombings against Algerian state targets, attacks on security forces in Algeria and the Sahel region of West Africa, and kidnappings, including Westerners, across the region. It has also reportedly provided support to other Africa-based violent extremist groups. U.S. officials have assessed AQIM to be focused on local and Western targets in North and West Africa, potentially including U.S. interests and personnel in the region. The group has leveraged instability in North and West Africa since 2011 to expand the scope of its operations. At the same time, its capacities may have been degraded by French military operations since 2013.
AQIM’s emir, Abdelmalik Droukdel, an Algerian national, is reportedly based in…
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