Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is Qaeda’s premier affiliate in northern and western Africa. It originally formed from the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. Under-governed spaces in West Africa and the Maghreb created an environment in which AQIM established safe havens. AQIM and affiliated groups currently operate in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire. It has benefited financially from smuggling routes that cut through the region and is known to have received millions of dollars in ransom payments for kidnapped Westerners. AQIM coordinates its activities with Ansar al Din and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) in Mali, and with Ansar al Sharia in Libya. It is also strengthening ties to Boko Haram in Nigeria.