International and State-Sponsored Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat on various countries worldwide. Terrorist organization target young adults to join their organization and carry out their functions. Terrorists are present all around the world, whether it’s the United Kingdom, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria or even India. The governments of various countries have carried out various tactics, schemes or call it methods to deal with this horrific menace, but hasn’t seemed to be successful. Terrorism can be classified as International and State sponsored. These terrorists can also be classified under another head called the sleeper cells. They do not come Infront until and unless got an order from their head. These sleeper cells are usually used as suicide bombers or provide assistance during terrorist strikes.   


The term ‘terrorism’ comes from the French word ‘terrorisme’ which is based on the Latin verb ‘terrere’ meaning ‘to cause to tremble’. It referred to the terror used against their opponents during French Revolution. The Jacobins who were led by Maximilien Robespierre, carried out the executions through guillotine. Terrorism in this era was an act of violence by a state against its domestic enemies. Whereas, in the present terrorism is referred to as an act carried out directly or indirectly by the people with the aim of building fear among their own people to satisfy their ego.


Terrorism is not a new concept, it has been existing even before the execution of Louis XVI by Robespierre. Defining terrorism is not possible as it is a very controversial topic. But as known to all beings, it is an act to build fear among their own people. Terrorists in order to attract and maintain a publicity which is necessary to maintain the fear among people, have to engage themselves in dramatic, violent and high-profile attacks. This can include, hijacks, hostage takings, mass shooting, suicide bombings and the list goes on. Terrorist attack are usually very well thought, as to maintain that fear they select places which have more number of civilian population such as schools, well-known hotels, restaurants, flights etc. talking about early terror, during the regime of the Jewish Zealots, often know an Sicarii (Hebrew: “Daggers”), who would engage themselves in frequent violent attacks on their fellow Hebrews suspecting them to have colluded with the Roman Authorities.

Causes of Terrorism

There can be various reasons for terrorists attacks, but the main reasons that contribute to these attacks are:

  • Political Causes: When the State fails to control the immigrants from other countries (Islamic countries) they contribute to the increase in the terrorist activities.
  • Economic Causes: Economic grievances and social injustice has given rise to ideological terrorist groups.
  • Ethnic Causes: Due to the feeling of ethnic exclusion, to create a space for themselves, they attack the civilian population.
  • Religious Causes: Portraying a religion as inferior has been a practice since ages now. Worldwide Muslims presume that they are treated to be inferior to Christians or Hindus, with this notion to prove their superiority, Muslims form groups and attack.

State sponsored terrorism

A process of government actively supporting violent non-state actors to engage in terrorism. However, just like the term Terrorism, even the term State-Sponsored Terrorism has a vague definition. The government can involve themselves in such activities either directly or indirectly. Directly by – actively sponsoring, controlling and directing their activities, and indirectly through encouraging these activities, providing them with funds and training and means. The government also tolerate these terrorists operating within their borders and make no effort to arrest them. By not carrying out any action against them, the government is enabling them to continue with their activities.

The best example of state sponsored terrorism is the relationship between Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. It was formed in the 1990s and their only aim was “freeing Kashmir from Indian control and establishing an Islamic state there.” 1  But recent actions by Lashkar have proven that they want to extend their Islamic state over India as well. Today Lashkar is considered as one of the most effective and “fearsome Jihadi force” operating in Kashmir.”2 Pakistan throughout the 1990s supported lashkar by helping them establish training centres at Lahore, Sialkot and Islamabad. Furthermore, it is well known to all that Pakistani Inter-services Intelligence agency the ISI provided Lashkar and other terrorist groups in Kashmir with arms, ammunitions, supplies for combat, financial aid and training.

In addition, there are many home-bread organizations like United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), NSCN in Manipur, Naga Liberation front in Nagaland etc. who have been indulging in terrorist activities in India under the garb of liberating those parts of the country from India are mostly operating from Burma, Bangladesh and some parts of China with full backing and logistics support of those countries mainly China who has been providing them with weapons, training and financial support to carry out terrorist activities in India.   

International Terrorism

International terrorism refers to terrorism beyond the jurisdiction of national boundaries with respect to the methodology, the people being targeted or the places for conducting such operations. Since the emergence of Al Qaida in the 1990s, the International Terrorism has largely become synonymous with Islamist Terrorism. It is an open secret that the majority of terrorist attack plots that have taken place worldwide are by the British Residents due to their ultra-liberal policies towards certain groups/sect of people who can be used as vote banks later. Many Islamist Terrorism groups such as ISIS, Jihad, Al Qaida etc. take the help of social media and the recent technology to present their Horrific Act to encourage and increase their followers. In the latter half of the 20th century, the most prominent terrorist groups were the Red Army Faction, the Japanese Red Army, the Red Brigades, the Puerto Rican FALN, Fatah and other groups related to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Shining Path, and the Liberation Tigers. Furthermore, in the 21st century the terrorist groups who were prominent in using the terrorist tactics were the Al Qaida, Jihad, Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and ISIS.

Terrorist organizations are situated all around the world, which can be proven by attacks done by them. The most prominent Terrorist organizations operating in India are the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), whose main aim is to annex the state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan. The second most prominent organization is the Indian Mujahedeen (IM), whose only aim is to establish an Islamic rule in India and convert all the Non-Muslims to Muslim and to carry out terrorist attacks on Indian for their atrocities against Indian Muslim. They were previously based in Maharashtra but presently there is a probability of them carrying out their operations from Nepal.

It is known to all that Pakistan is the hub of terrorist organization. Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has accepted that Pakistan had been involved in training Mujahidin and Taliban to carryout Jihad against the Soviets when they occupied Afghanistan. Pakistan has also admitted to have trained them using the funds from the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The most prominent Terrorist groups in Pakistan which carry out their horrific Acts worldwide are groups such as;

1.     Al Qaida:

Whose aim is to remove the western influence from the Islamic States and to unite the Muslim community worldwide. Their terrifying motive does not end there, they wish to overthrow and over power the governments who they perceive as un-Islamic and ultimately establish a pan-Islamic caliphate under a strict Salafi Muslim interpretation of sharia. We can see their presence in the Pakistan’s federally administered areas which is the FATA and also in the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders. Their annual turnover is around $150 Million and their main source of finance is through financial assistance and donations, Extortion and drug trafficking. Under this sect, comes the Al Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, whose only motive is to establish supremacy of caliphate in the Indian subcontinent. This group operates in the whole country targeting military and security personnel and they are also responsible for numerous attacks in Karachi and they also stage attacks where the group is the most active such as in Afghanistan, India, and Bangladesh.

2.     Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI):

Who aims at over throwing the Pakistan Government and to implement Sharia Law throughout the country. They are headquartered at Pakistan but organize several camps and remain active in the POK

3.     Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM):

They wanted to annex Kashmir to Pakistan and convert Kashmir to an Islamic State. HUM is headquartered in Islamabad but with an organizational presence in Muzaffarbad in POK from where they carry out planned attacks on India.

4.     Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM):

They have believed in uniting Kashmir and Pakistan and establishing Sharia Law there and to drive away foreign forces from Afghanistan. They are Headquartered in Punjab Province but carryout staged attack on Indian Personnel in Jammu and Kashmir.

5.     Lashkar-e-Tayyiba:

Their primary aim in to return the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan and stir up Islamic insurgency in India. Their second goal is to enhance their recruitment networks and paramilitary trainings in South Asia. Their ultimate goal will be to implement Islamic rule in complete South Asia. Their annual income turns out to be around $100 Million and the main source of their finance is through financial assistants and donations.

Terrorist groups in Nigeria such as the Boko Haram whose main motive is to overthrow the Nigerian government with Islamic State with strict Sharia law and to ultimately establish an Islamic caliphate across Africa. They annually earn about $25 Million through Extortion, fees and taxes, protection, bank robberies and looting.

Money is required by every organization to fuel their outcomes, whether it’s for constructing a building, selling items or is being used to conduct horrific, terrifying violent Acts. Terrorist organization require funds for the purchase of weapons and ammunitions. It is important for us to understand that all states do not sponsor these Terrorist Organization, so when these terrorist organizations aren’t sponsored how do they enable themselves in providing such Hi-Tech instruments? Well, there are top Terrorist organizations who are known among the strongest and richest organizations.

1)     ISIS:

Their annual turnover is around $ 2 Billion, and their only decent source of earning is from Oil Trading where 60% of the oil reserves in Syria are owned by them. They also have increased their extent to Iraq where they own 7 major oil and gas reserves. Using an oil smuggling system which has been developed over years, ISIS now sells 10,000 barrels everyday on the black market. Whereas their other source of income is through extortion (kidnapping and ransom), collection of protection money and taxes, bank robberies and looting. ISIS have always aimed at establishing an Islamist State in Iraq, Syria Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

2)     Taliban:

Their annual turnover is around $400 Million, where they mainly earn through drug trafficking mostly opium and heroin. Their other source of income is through sponsorship fees and taxes, financial assistance and donations. Taliban’s main aim is to establish Islamic Theocracy.

3)     HAMAS:

They annually earn around $1 billion and usually through taxes and fees, financial aid and donations provided specially from Qatar. They are located at the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Their purpose is to carryout militant struggle against the state of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian Islamic state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

Deadliest terror attacks in the 21st century

There have been attacks by these terrorist groups in the past several years that have led to great loss to the civilian population with mass destruction and mental imbalance. Some of the major attacks are as follows:

  1. The deadliest terrorist strikes to date were the September 11 attacks (2001), in which suicide terrorists associated with Al-Qaida hijacked four commercial airplanes, crashing two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre complex in New York City and the third into the Pentagon building near Washington, D.C.; the fourth plane crashed near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The crashes destroyed much of the World Trade Centre complex and a large portion of one side of the Pentagon and killed more than 3,000 people.

2)     The London bombings

It was on the 7th of July 2005 where 4 suicide bombers with rucksacks full of explosives attacked the Central London. Two weeks later, on the 21st of July 2005four other bomb attacks paralyzed the functionaries of London’s public transport system. Around fifty-two civilians were killed and about 700 were injured in the series of the coordinated attacks.

3)     The Istanbul Explosions

There were four truck bomb attacks on the 15th and 20th November 2003 in Istanbul. Reportedly, there were 700 civilian population who were injured and 57 were killed.

4)     The Delhi Blasts

Two days before the Diwali on October 29,2005 three blasts ripped through the national capital by planting bombs in bags at busy places such as the Sarojini Nagar and Paharganj and at a DTC meeting. A total number of 67 people were killed and 200 were injured.

5)     Norway Attacks

After World War II Norway on the 22nd July 2011 witnessed the deadliest attack, where eight people died in a bombing in Oslo and 69 young people died on nearby Utoya island.

6)     Dubrovka Theatre Siege

Moscow witnessed on the October 23, 2002, about 50 Chechen rebels storm a Moscow theatre, taking up to 700 people hostage during a sold-out performance of a popular musical. After a two-and-a-half-day siege, Russian forces entered the building, a struggle followed and a total of one hundred seventy people were killed.

7)     Madrid train bombings

Three days before the Spain’s general elections on the morning of 11th March 2004 witnessed a coordinated bombing  against the Cercanías commuter train system of Madrid killed 192 people and injured around 2,000.

8)     Peshawar school attack

It was the deadliest attack killing many innocents in Pakistan which was conducted by a Taliban gunman who attacked a military run school on the 26th of December 2014 which killed around 141 people among whom there were more students. before government troops ended the siege.

9)     Mumbai terror attacks

This was the deadliest attacks that India encountered. These attacks lasted for two days from 26th to 29th of November 2008. Ten Pakistani men associated with the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba stormed buildings in Mumbai, killing 164 people. Nine of the gunmen were killed during the attacks where one survived, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman, who was executed on November 2012.

10)  Beslan school siege

On September 1, 2004, armed Chechen rebels took approximately 1,200 children and adults hostage at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia. The siege ended on September 3, 2004 with more than 330 killed, including 186 children, and more than 700 people wounded.


Terrorist Organizations allure and attract people claiming that by killing, ‘Allah’ will be happy and you will go to “Jannat”. Therefore, with this bribe offered, and being a true devotee of the religion besides in most cases being poor and unemployed, they will follow their instructions and take part in various violent activities such as Mass killing, Mass destruction etc. The sad but honest truth about these organizations is, that they carry out such activities with the help of complicit Governments and organizations. Such activities have been practiced by political leaders with the motive of gaining power, overthrowing the ruling dispensation and for various ulterior motives.

End Notes

1. Cronin, “Foreign Terrorist Organizations”.

2. Stephen Tankel, “Lashkar-E-Taiba: From 9/11 to Mumbai, “(London: International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, 2009)”



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