Terrorism remains the biggest threat to national security in Pakistan as well as the rest of the
world. The emergence of several terrorist groups over the years has made the war on terrorism
even more challenging. However, efforts are still being made by many nations to combat
terrorism and ensure that people are safe. One of the major causes of terrorism as put by Murphy
(2014 p.183) is extremism backed by the application of Islamic teachings in a discriminative
manner to radicalize the militias who are mostly the youth. This has helped in brain washing the
youth to believe that terrorism is a good cause.
For many years, Pakistan was considered an ally to terrorist groups until 18 th March 2004
when it was declared a non-ally (Gunaratna & Iqbal, 2011 p. 211 ). One of the reasons it might
have been seen to be an ally is because of the several terrorist groups that have formed their base
in Pakistan. Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has made it easier for these groups to
settle in Pakistan and run their activities without any obstruction from the government or outside
forces (Blumenthal &Mhnken, 2014 p.133). This has been attributed by the fact that the
Pakistan government has neglected these areas, their terrain makes it difficult for the
government, and other forces to reach and get the necessary information needed to fight the
Several factors have contributed to the rise of terrorist groups in Pakistan and around the
world. One of them is poverty, which leaves many young people uneducated and ready to
undertake any activity that will ensure they get their daily meals and are support themselves and
their families. Other factors include lack of law enforcement, foreign involvement, lack of law
enforcement and lack of employment, which leaves many young people idle and vulnerable.
TERRORIST GROUPS IN PAKISTAN 3
The terrorist groups are still recruiting many young people and successfully fighting them
is still a challenge. The factors that have led to the rise of terrorist groups and terrorism cannot be
dealt with all at once and effectively. They need to be dealt with in a sober manner and in phases
to ensure that they are effective. From the history of terrorism in Pakistan, it is evident that Islam
is being used by extremists to fulfill their agendas. Dealing with this issue will need leaders who
truly understand and practice Islam so that they can be able to differentiate between the true
teachings and those being used by the extremists in terrorist groups.
In the next 1-3 years, the issue of terrorist groups and terrorism might prove to be more
challenging. This is because these terrorist groups are still recruiting more and more young
people worldwide. Many of their efforts to attack the western countries after the 911 attack
especially America has been unfruitful (Murphy, 2014 p. 19). They have planned about 60
unsuccessful attacks meaning that they still believe in their cause and they are still making more
plans. More and more young people are not able to access education facilities mainly due to lack
of funds and therefore cannot be employed.
Poverty and lack of employment leaves these young people at a very vulnerable position
and the terrorist groups take advantage of that. More efforts need to be put towards ensuring that
people in various communities have access to education and places that might be suspected of
training young people in terrorism are thoroughly checked. If these places are found to be
training grounds for terrorists, they are to be shut down and the people involved dealt with
TERRORIST GROUPS IN PAKISTAN 4
The issue of terrorism can only be dealt with effectively if social and economic factors
are well looked into. In order to deal with the menace, leaders have to be fully aware of the root
causes of the social and economic problems that face the people especially in Pakistan where the
terrorist groups have formed base. One of the reasons these groups have been welcomed in
Pakistan FATA is because the community there was simply exercising what they know culturally
(Murphy, 2005 p. 192). They are strong believers in religion and cultural practices. It is part of
their tradition to offer protection and shelter to the less fortunate. Proving the same for the
terrorist groups was simply in accordance to their traditions.
Fighting terrorism in this region is very challenging. The leaders in charge need to
understand that they have the duty of educating the people on why they should not welcome
these terrorist groups in as much as their traditions move them to do so. This will be challenged
by the fact that the terrorist groups have already been rooted there and operate from there. The
current and previous regimes have neglected FATA due to its terrain, the beliefs of the local
community and the invasion by terrorist groups (Margolis, 2002 p.112). The area is therefore not
subject to the law of the land that governs the rest of the country.
FATA has its own law and is governed by the various terrorist groups that are based
there. Their cause is to kill people they believe are against them and have done various wrongs to
Muslims. They therefore recruit young people to train them in following their cause. These
people are misguided and the Holy teachings misinterpreted to suit their cause. The lack of law
enforcement in this region has led to the rise of illegal business mainly in drugs and weapons that
are used in terrorist activities. This is thought to be their source of income and thus very
challenging to deal with.
TERRORIST GROUPS IN PAKISTAN 5
The use of drones and satellites by the US intelligence forces has helped a lot in getting
rid of some of the leaders of these terrorist groups. However, there is a challenge since the troops
and other forces involved cannot access the area physically. This is due to the danger involved
seeing that the area is fully occupied by terrorist groups and its terrain is not favorable. A lot of
funds have been channeled towards fighting terrorism. Many attacks have been stopped, but the
war on terrorism is far from over.
Good advice offered to a decision maker is crucial and needs a lot of thought and
soberness. From the look of the current situation, it is the young people that are being lured into
terrorist groups with the promise of a better life after undertaking their activities (Hadi, 2016 p.
127). It would, therefore, be of help for the various decision makers to channel part of the funds
being used to fight terrorism in educating the youth on the tactics used by these groups to recruit
and how to avoid them. It would also help if part of these funds were used to academically
educate these young people and help them in getting employment or starting their own business
According to Murphy (2010 p. 183), the extremists apply Islamic teachings in a
discriminative manner in order to recruit members and justify their cause. It would, therefore,
help if decision makers understood the importance of educating all the youth on the teachings
used by these groups and how different they are from the true teachings. Terrorism affects people
from all walks of life regardless of their social, economic, religious and political status. Teaching
people especially the youth on the specific teachings used by these extremists would go a long
way in ensuring that the youth are aware of the bait used and are well prepared when
TERRORIST GROUPS IN PAKISTAN 6
It is evident that these terrorist groups have the same goal and others have even merged
their efforts creating a bigger community of terrorists (Gunaratna & Iqbal , 2011 p. 55). It is also
clear that they understand psychology and know that once they convince young people of their
cause and are able to change their mind set, they are able to manipulate them and use them
whichever way they please. Most of these terrorists undergo rigorous trainings and teachings.
This creates a challenge for the forces involved in fighting against them since they are up against
people who have the same knowledge and equipment they have.
A decision maker would therefore need to understand that they are dealing with smart
people since some of them are highly educated and fully understand the risks involved and other
intelligence matters. This would therefore mean that a decision maker needs to be able to be
ahead of the terrorists in planning to avoid more attacks like it has been done before. It is still not
very clear where the groups get their funding from. The idea that they could be dealing in drugs
and weapons is only speculation. According to Murphy (2014 p. 212) a lot of information is
based on speculation and therefore it would be wise for a decision maker to first of all work with
A thorough research needs to be carried out on all these terrorist groups in order to get a
better understanding of their activities and their plans. Various countries have been attacked
across the globe and therefore this is not a single nation’s fight. It is a fight that involves all
nations and therefore a decision maker needs to work with other affected nations that are willing
to put up a successful war on terrorism. Pakistan has been at the heart of all the terror due to its
alleged involvement in terrorism until it was declared a non-ally. It has also been at the center of
all the terror due to its attacks after supporting the US in the war against terrorism.
TERRORIST GROUPS IN PAKISTAN 7
Political problems have also been at the center of the terrorist attacks especially in
Pakistan. The Pakistan government has been unstable for a while now. Its lack of involvement in
FATA has further worsened the terrorist movements. Part of the agenda on the terrorist groups’
activities is to take over political power and pay back the atrocities committed against Muslims
especially in Afghanistan (Murphy, 2014 p. 197). There is also the issue of establishing an
Islamic state. For the problem to be properly dealt with, it will need a much stronger
government to deal with the political problems facing Pakistan, which have been the primary
reason for terrorism.
Another piece of advice for a decision maker would be to resolve the Kashmir problem
(Murphy, 2014 p.88). A lasting peace needs to be found with India, sectarian violence needs to
be stopped and the economic and political grievances of Pashtuns resolved. As long as there are
different groups that are dissatisfied with various issues, there will always be trouble in the form
of terrorism since that is the only way they think is best to communicate. Once these issues are
dealt with, then the war on terrorism can be on the right course.
Establishment of some sort of peace in Afghanistan once the US troops and its allies
leave will also be a good step towards dealing with terrorism (Hadi, 2016 p.103). This is an
international matter and needs the collaboration of various nations. Terrorism has affected many
nations, not only Pakistan and America. Once the US leaves Afghanistan, there is bound to be
security issues both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It will need a strong Pakistan government to be
able to deal with these security issues and a well-planned move to deal with the aftermath of the
US fallout from Afghanistan.
TERRORIST GROUPS IN PAKISTAN 8
Blumenthal, D. & Mahnken, T. (2014). Strategy in Asia: The Past, Present and Future of
Regional Security. Stanford: Stanford Security Studies.
Gunaratna, R. & Iqbal, K. (2011). Pakistan: Terrorism Ground Zero. Islington: Reaktion Books.
Hadi, S. (2016). Looming Black Shadows: The Rise of Terrorist States and the New Generation
al-Qaeda. Delhi: PartridgeIndia
Murphy, E. (2014). The Making of Terrorism in Pakistan: Historical and Social Roots
Extremism (Critical Terrorism Studies). Abingdon: Routledge.
Margolis, M. (2002). War at The Top of The World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and
Tibet. Abingdon; Routledge.
Sareen, S. (2005). The Jihad Factory: Pakistan’s Islamic Revolution in The Making. Delhi:
Hindustan Publishing Corporation.