The late 1990s saw a number of attacks against American military and governmental offices, most notably the US Embassy bombings in Africa in 1998. On 11 September 2001, however, the scale of this conflict changed dramatically. The kidnapping of four commercial airliners led to the deaths of some 3,000 people. As in 1998, the terrorist group responsible for this devastating campaign was Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, or 'The Base', a loose network of extremists many of whom are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their cause.Jane Corbin has been studying Bin Laden's organisation for four years and has followed in his footsteps through the Middle East, Africa, Europe and America. She has conducted hundreds of interviews with key eyewitnesses, investigators and intelligence officers around the world. Tracing al-Qaeda's roots back to the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, Jane Corbin picks up the complicated trail that led to the collapse of the Twin Towers and beyond.And as President Bush's 'war on terror' in Afghanistan poses more questions than it answers, Jane examines the West's response to the threat of al-Qaeda and declares it a failure. THE BASE is essential reading for anyone interested in the history and likely future operations of arguably the biggest threat to democracy since the Cold War.