You are on page 1of 3


Terrorism is a special type of violence. It is a tactic used in peace, conflict and war. The
threat of terrorism is ever present, and an attack is likely to occur when least expected.
A terrorist attack means the event that marks the transition from peace to conflict or
war. The definition of terrorism is

“The calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to fear; intended to intimidate
governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or
ideological.”(US command & General Staff College)

Terrorism is calculated, terrorists generally know what they are doing and their selection
of a target is planned and rational.

“I agree with the definition of terrorism, because it can happen when you least not
expect it too.”

Terrorism is common practice in insurgencies, but insurgents are not necessarily

terrorists if they do not engage in those forms of violence identified as terrorist’s acts.
While legal distinction is clear, it rarely inhibits terrorists who convince themselves that
their actions are justified on a higher law. In contrast, war is subject to rules of
international law. Terrorists recognize no rules. No person, place, or object of value is
immune from terrorist attacks. Modern terrorism offers it practitioners many advantages.
First, by not recognizing innocents, terrorists have an infinite number of targets. They
select their targets and determine when, where and how they attack. The range of
choices gives terrorists a high probability of success with minimum risk. If the attack
goes wrong or fails to produce the intended results, the terrorists can deny
responsibility. The terrorist bombings of the New York World Trade Center and the
Oklahoma City Federal Building prove how easy it is for terrorists to operate in a free
and democratic society. As commanders and staffs address terrorism, they must
consider several relevant characteristics that anyone can be a victim. Some terrorists
may still operate under cultural restraints, such as the desire to avoid harming women.

Terrorists are inspired by many different motives. Students of terrorism classify them
into three categories: rational, psychological, and cultural. The Rational terrorist thinks
through his goals and options, making a cost benefit analysis. They seek to determine
whether there are less costly and more effective ways to achieve their objectives in
terrorism. To assess the risk, they weigh the target’s defensive capabilities against their
own capabilities. The essential question is whether terrorist will work for the desired
purpose, given societal condition at the time.
Psychological Motivation for terrorism derives from the terrorist’s personal
dissatisfaction with their life and accomplishments. Although no clear Psychopath is

found among terrorists, there is a nearly universal element in them that can be
described as the “true believer.

” Terrorists tend to project their own antisocial motivations onto others, creating a
polarized “we versus they” (Thomas Hunter) outlook.

They attribute only evil motives to anyone outside their own group. The other common
characteristic of the psychologically motivated terrorist is the pronounced need to
belong to a group. With

Some terrorists, group acceptance is a stronger motivator than the stated political
objectives of the organization. Such individuals define their social status by group

Cultural Motivation cultures shape values and motivate people to actions that seem
unreasonable to foreign observers. The treatment of life in general and individual life in
particular is a cultural characteristic that has a tremendous impact on terrorism. In
societies in which people identify themselves in terms of group membership (family,
clan, tribe), there may be willingness to self-sacrifice seldom seen elsewhere. However,
American soldiers are less surprised at heroic sacrifice for one’s military unit; the
difference among cultures is in the group with which one identifies. At times, terrorists
seem to be eager to give their lives for their organization and cause. The lives of
“others,” being taken in the terrorists’ value system, can be destroyed with little or no
regret. A major cultural determinate of terrorism is the opinion of “outsiders” and
anticipation of a threat to an ethnic group survival. Fear of cultural execution leads to
violence, which, to someone who does not experience it, seems crazy. All human
beings are sensitive to threats to the values by which they identify themselves. These
include language, religion, group membership, and homeland or native territory. The
possibility of losing any of these can cause defensive, even racist, reactions. Terrorism
in the name of religion can be especially violent. Like all terrorists, those who are
faithfully motivated view their acts with honest certainty and even great sanctions. What
would otherwise be amazing acts of desperation becomes a spiritual duty in the mind of
the loyally motivated terrorist. This helps explain the high level of commitment and
motivation to risk death among religious extremist groups.

Terrorists organize to function in the environments where they carry out their acts.
Organizational details are situation-specific. There are, however, a few general
organizational principles. Because terrorists must operate in a hostile environment,
security is their primary concern. Security is best served by a cellular structure in which
members do not know and cannot identify more than a few of their social group in the
event of capture or defection. Terrorist groups that are not supported by a government
usually create a support structure of sympathizers and people who have been forced
into helping them. The support structure may include energetic and inactive members. It
furnishes the active terrorists with logistic support, intelligence, distribution of
propaganda, recruiting, and money. Terrorist recruitment and training are, predictably,
security-sensitive. Among groups that are not ethnic-based, the usual sources of
recruits are high school and college students who show commitment to the cause.
Terrorist training varies considerably. Typical training includes instruction in the use of
small arms and explosives along with intelligence collection and training in the group’s
cause. Terrorist actions include the traditional assassinations, bombings, arson, criminal
taking, Hijacking, kidnapping, seizure and occupation of a building, attacks on a facility
sabotage, and perpetration of hoaxes. Newer categories of operations include the still
largely potential “high-tech” terrorism using nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons
and materials. One form of biological terrorism is the distribution of Anthrax. It is mainly
a disease of grazing animals. The spores on wool or hides usually cause a skin
infection, nasty but treatable antibiotics are available. Symptoms of Anthrax include flu
like- fever, headache, and muscle pains.

Patience and determination are the hallmarks of successful programs to combat

terrorism. In any country or region, there are few terrorists relative to the population.
Identifying and capturing them is difficult and requires deadly police and intelligence
work. It is filled with frustration. Antiterrorism efforts are also low-key and unsuccessful,
requiring patience and running contrary to Pakistani culture. Perhaps the most irritating
aspect of defense against terrorism is that success is hard to identify. Security is the
most obvious requirement in fighting terrorism. Terrorists rely on surprise and the
victim’s confusion at the time of an incident. Antiterrorism involves physical security,
operational security, and the practice of personal protective measures by all personnel.
Commanders and staffs must plan their response to terrorist threats and incidents.
Fighting terrorism is an aspect of force protection and is the responsibility of
commanders as well as ordinary citizens at all times. This is the only way we can
eliminate terrorism.