terrorism RESEARCH

Countries with large terrorism presence

Terrorists have long found refuge in countries and in many cases worked hand in hand with the local governments. Today several countries continue to attract terrorists and extremists for training and conspiring their attacks. The host countries do not try to disassociate themselves fully from their ties to terrorism and in some cases continue to provide tacit support and use terror to accomplish broader objectives. Some of the countries with significant terrorist operations include:


Afghanistan became the hotbed of Islamic terror activities in the mid-1990s. With the radical Taliban government establishing control, several radical Islamic (mostly Sunni) terror organizations used Afghanistan as their training and operational base. Al Qaeda was the broad umbrella organization that recruited terrorists from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and around the world, training them in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some of the terrorist groups still operating in the region include Al Qaeda, Al-Jihad, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Islamic Group, Armed Islamic Group, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.


Iran has long been an active sponsor of Islamic terrorism, including accusations of it supporting subversive activities in Iraq. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were involved in the planning of and support for terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups that use terrorism to pursue their goals. Several terrorist groups including Lebanese Hizballah, HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Ahmad Jibril's PFLP-GC have been provided funding, safe haven, training, and weapons in Iran.


Since the US led invasion of Iraq, the country has fallen into a violent spiral. The presence of US troops has attracted Islamic terrorists from the Middle-East and around the world. Al-Qaeda is believed to have established a toe-hold in the country along with various splinter groups. Some of the other terror organizations active in Iraq include Ansar al-Islam, Al-Faruq Brigades, Al-Mahdi Army, Iraqi Resistance Islamic Front (JAMI), Jamaat al-Tawhid wa'l-Jihad, Jaysh Muhammad and Kurdistan People’s Congress (KHK).


Pakistan has long been the main staging ground and planning centre for Islamic terrorists operating in South Asia. After the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom, thousands of terrorists were either killed or driven out of Afghanistan, with the survivors taking refuge in Pakistan. Pakistan's military and its secret spy service; Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have been training and funding several terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and India, including the decades long terrorism campaign in Indian Kashmir and the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The links have long been clear, given that the Pakistani terrorist groups operate in plain sight and have a very distinct Afghan and Indian focus. The massive leak of U.S. Intelligence data on the Wikileaks website further showed the complicity of the Pakistani state with terrorist groups, used to establish a (false) state of deniability. New York Times journalist Carlotta Gall has written a book that further delves into the Pakistani state's deep involvement with terrorism in Afghanistan. The former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan and minister, Chris Alexander has made a similar assertion calling Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.

Pakistani groups have been aligned with Al Qaeda, based in Pakistan and have been responsbile for numerous terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and have expanded their sights to Europe and North America. Some of these terror groups include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Jaferia, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Al Badr, Harkat ul-Ansar, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, Jamaat ul-Fuqra and Muslim United Army.


Even as Syria continues to reduce its presence in Lebanon, it also continues to fund and host Palestinian and possibly Iraqi terrorist organizations. HAMAS, the PIJ, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are some of the Islamic extremists that continue to operate from Syria. Syria has now become the hub of terror, where Islamic fundamentalist terrorists from Europe, Asia and the Middle-East are fighting the Assad regime to wrest control of the country.


The African country of Sudan been a training hub and safe haven for members of several of the more violent international terrorist and radical Islamic groups of the last decade. Among the terror groups known to have operated from Sudan are Hezbollah (Party of God), Palestine Islamic Jihad, Abu Nidal Organization, HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement) and several smaller Islamic insurgent groups operating regionally in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, and Tunisia spreading extremism and killing innocent people based on religion and as part of criminal activities.

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