Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the United States

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter examines the evolution of radical, militant Islamic groups in the context of United States (US) policies toward Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and the period of Taliban rule. It describes the rise of Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network. The chapter explores the broader patterns of Islamic fundamentalism within the region and the subsequent proliferation of anti-US and anti-Western sentiment. It focuses on how the US actions and programs exacerbate the radicalization of Islamic fundamentalist groups in South Asia. The chapter also explores the events that led the mujahideen to turn against their former benefactors. It analyses whether there were steps that successive US administrations could and should have taken to contain the growth of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The chapter also focuses on the policies that the US and Western powers adopt to contain or ameliorate conflict within the region and constrains the spread of radical Islam.

Publication Title

America's War on Terror

First Page


Last Page