Terrorism Update
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Pakistan Terrorist Groups
(Updated till January 7, 2018)

Terrorist Outfits: An Overview
(List of Terrorist Groups)

Of the various ideological streams that currently inspire and provoke political violence and terrorism in South Asia, the most destabilizing and lethal, and the one with the greatest extra-regional impact, is Islamist terrorism. A multiplicity of sub-sets and a complex, sometimes conflicting scheme of inter-linkages, has been documented in connection with the extended range of Islamist terrorist groups operating in the region.

Various shades of radical political Islam colour, indeed define, the Pakistani identity and nation, even as the country is positioned at the heart of contemporary Islamist terrorism. Extremist Islam is, and has long been, the state’s principal tool of internal political mobilisation and of external projection in an extraordinary and audacious enterprise of strategic overextension. Crucially, the footprint of almost every major act of international Islamist terrorism, for some time before 9/11 and continuously thereafter, invariably passes through Pakistan. After 9/11, the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, and the stark choice given to the Pakistani leadership, the dynamics of the Islamist terrorist enterprise in South Asia have undergone dramatic adaptive adjustments and modifications. Essentially, however, this dynamic, its underlying ideologies, and its motivational and institutional structures, remain intact.

There is strong and cumulative evidence that the Pakistani power elite, located in the regressive military-mullah-feudal combine, is yet to abandon terrorism as a tactical and strategic tool to secure what it perceives as the country’s quest for ‘strategic depth’ in the region. This remains the case despite the increasing ‘blowback’ of Islamist terrorist violence within the country, and the progressive erosion of the Army’s status and control in expanding areas of the country. While the Pakistani Army has taken selective action against particular groups of Islamist terrorists – particularly those who have turned against the state, who have attacked President Musharraf and senior Army and Government functionaries, who have engaged in sectarian terrorism within the country, or who are targeted specifically on behalf of, and under pressure from, the US – it is the case that Pakistan continues to support and encourage the activities of a wide range of terrorist and Islamist extremist organisations. This is particularly the case with organisations that are active in Afghanistan – including remnants of the Taliban – and in India.

Despite cosmetic policy changes and some tokenism – including formal bans on a number of terrorist organisations – many prominent Islamist terrorist organisations continue to operate with a high measure of freedom in and from Pakistan.






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