Militants from around the globe poured into Afghanistan, but Azzam and bin Laden recognized that many of the prospective mujahedin lacked the necessary training and supplies for the Afghan campaign. To remedy this they established Masadat Al-Ansar in Peshawar, Pakistan as a central base, training compound and storehouse to serve the Arabs coming in to fight. This was Al Qaeda (the base) for the thousands streaming in to fight the jihad. Dr. Saad al-Fagih was one of the many Saudis who passed through the Peshawar base, and he explained in a PBS interview how Al Qaeda came to be and how it was never meant to refer to bin Laden's terrorist organization :

"Well, I really laugh when I hear the FBI talking about Al Qaeda as an organization of bin Laden... It's really a very simple story. If bin Laden is to receive Arabs from Saudi Arabia and from Kuwait--from other regions--he is to receive them in the guest house in Peshawar. They used to go to the battle field and come back, without documentation... There was no documentation of who has arrived. Who has left. How long he stayed. There's only a nice general reception. And you go there. And you join in the battle field... Now, he was embarrassed by many families when they called him and ask what happened to our son. He don't know. `Cause there's no record. There's no documentation. Now he asked some of his colleagues to start documenting the movement of every Arab coming under his umbrella... It is recorded that they arrived in this date and stayed in this house... Many of them had come only for two weeks, three weeks and then disappeared. That record, that documentation was called the record of Al Qaeda. So that was Al Qaeda. There's nothing sinister about Al Qaeda. It's not like an organization... I don't think he used any name for his underground group. If you want to name it, you can name it 'bin Laden group.' But if they are using the term Al Qaeda... Al Qaeda is just a record for the people who came to Peshawar and moved from there back and forth to the guest house. And moved back to their country."

Source :