A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

BAAD - Al-Qa'ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM) - 2012


Al-Qa'ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM)

Al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM) is an Islamist militant group based in Algeria, currently under the leadership of Abdelmalek Droukdel.[1] The group mainly operates in the Sahel-Saharan region of Africa.[2] AQLIM has its roots in the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC),[3] which originated as an offshoot of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in 1998 during the civil violence in Algeria.[4] In 2000, GSPC publicly announced it was opposed to GIA’s violence against civilians, claiming it harmed the general population,[5],[6] which gained the group some local popularity.[7] This lasted until early 2001, when GSPC returned to indiscriminate violence.[8] Over time, the group shifted focus from toppling Algeria's secular government to global jihad, officially aligning with al-Qa’ida in 2006 and renaming itself al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb in early 2007.[9],[10]

In 2007, AQLIM claimed responsibility for the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Algiers.[11] AQLIM conducted numerous kidnappings for ransom and a series of bombings targeting police, citizens, and the military in Algeria and surrounding regions.[12] In 2012, an intensified counterterrorism campaign by the Algerian government forced the group to reduce its bombing attacks and focus primarily on obtaining funding through smuggling and kidnappings.[13] At this time, AQLIM also moved to surrounding regions, specifically Niger and Mali.[14] AQLIM has been tied to other Islamist groups: Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, Ansar Dine, and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).[15] These groups took advantage of secular unrest in Mali to seize major parts of northern and central Mali during 2012 and 2013,[16] though they were largely pushed from populated areas by French intervention in February 2013.[17]

Internal differences within AQLIM have spawned multiple jihadist groups throughout the region. MUJAO was created in October 2011 as a Malian faction.[18] In December 2012, AQLIM military commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar announced the formation of “The Signers in Blood” Battalion.[19] In September 2014, several leaders of AQLIM broke off from AQLIM to form a new militant group known as “The Caliphate Soldiers” which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).[20] View full narrative

Quick Facts for 2012


677 (Total of 1998 through 2012)


Approximately 300

Territorial Control:
Controls Territory (1)

Funding through Drug Trafficking:

Sorry, but there are no organizational details available for this group at this time.


Primary Ideology

  • Ag = Anti-Globalization
  • An = Anarchist
  • En = Ethnic
  • Ev = Environmental
  • Le = Leftist
  • Re = Religious
  • Ri = Rightist
  • Se = Separatist
  • Su = Supremacist
  • Vi = Vigilante


  •  Ally
  •  Suspected Ally
  •  Rival
  •  Violence
  •  Mixed Relations


  •  Blue 0 - 1479 fatalities
  •  Green 1479 - 2958 fatalities
  •  Yellow 2958 - 4437 fatalities
  •  Orange 4437 - 5916 fatalities
  •  Red 5916 - 7396 fatalities

Lethality is calculated as the total number of fatalities from 1998-2012.


Icon sizes depict approximate relative sizes of the organizations.

  • Smallest 0 - 10 members
  •   11 - 100 members
  •   101 - 1000 members
  •   1001 - 10000 members
  • Largest > 10000 members

Other Notes

Icons with no color coding or ideology icon have no detailed data at this time, and are provided as relationship information only.