Among al-Qaeda's goals is for other countries to stop influencing Muslim countries and for a new Islamic caliphate to be made. There have been reports that al-Qaeda believes that Christian and Jewish Islamophobia is trying to destroy Islam and that the killing of bystanders and civilians is religiously justified in jihad.
There have been guesses that there are 500-1,000 operatives in Afghanistan and around 5,000 worldwide. However, there is no confirmation of this.
In June 2001, al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which had been associated with each other for many years, merged into 'Qaeda al-Jihad'.
"...the members of Islamic Jihad and its guiding figure Ayman al-Zawahiri have provided the backbone of [al-Quaeda's] leadership. According to officials in the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., Zawahiri has been responsible for much of the planning of the terrorist operations against the United States".
Senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a drone strike on June 4, 2012. He ranked second to Ayman al-Zawahiri at the time. The strike was carried out in the northwest tribal area of Waziristan. The Pakistan Government has protested to the U.S. about the strike.