Formation of al-Qaeda
With the Afghan jihad winding down, Osama bin Laden gathered his most loyal followers together to discuss their future.
They were determined to keep jihad alive, following the inevitable Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. The name they had ascribed to the organization was al-Qaeda al-askariya, the military base.
Unbeknownst to the attendees of this meeting, bin Laden's inner circle had already formed al-Qaeda several months prior, with bin Laden's friend Medani al-Tayeb becoming its first formal member on May 17th.
The fifteen founders of al-Qaeda wrote a pledge, "the pledge of God and his covenant is upon me, to energetically obey the superiors who are doing this work, rising early in times of difficulty and ease" (page 153).
I'm fighting so I can die a martyr and go to heaven to meet God. Our fight now is against the Americans. ”— Osama bin Laden