This paper explores two terrorist groups, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Taliban and compares them in terms of their capabilities, motive, history, targeting and potential impact. In addition, it reviews an article by Tucker that discusses terrorism, networks and strategy and why the conventional ways of fighting terrorism fails. As seen from this paper, the two terrorist groups have many aspects in common and they support radical Islamism. From the complication under which they operate, terrorist capabilities, motive, past and target are crucial factors to understand in order to fight terrorism effectively as the different groups always change their strategies.
Terrorism has been a great concern to super power countries such as the United States of America. It can start at individual level to an organization level. For instance, if an individual or a group has some sort of grievance, there is always the drive to find a solution. Considering the possible expenses to correct the situation, a cost effective method is the option. High cost leads to abandoning of the corrective measures while lower expenses will lead to either a peaceful or a violent method to resolve the matter (Tucker, n.d.). Peaceful means through tolerance can be successful. Violent method can apply if the enemy I strong. The success of these methods usually has basis on the organization and networking of the group where commands are delegated depending whether the group centralized or decentralized. Mostly, terrorist groups want to be secretive through the ways they recruit their followers who have the incentive to prove their positions in the group. The established networks have socialized functions, connections, and relations in the social movements, which help the terrorist groups to achieve their goals. As these networks and organizations are complex, terrorist capabilities, motive, history, and target are crucial factors to understand in order to fight terrorism effectively as the different groups always change their strategies.
Many terrorist groups have similar approaches in their organization and networking in pursuit of their success. ASG and the Taliban are of no exception. Looking at their history, both terrorist groups have many similarities on this aspect. For example, the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan for five years since 1996 before their ousting by the U.S. forces. It formed amongst other groups during Soviet influence in Afghanistan between 1978 and 1989 (Intelligence Resource Program, n.d.). Similarly, the ASG had its leaders in the military during the war of Soviet invasion and like Taliban ASG has followers of the radicalized Islamic teachings. Both groups have split from a bigger group. For instance, ASG broke from Moro National Liberation Front in late twentieth century during the civil war while the Taliban has strong relation with Al Qaeda (Intelligence Resource Program, n.d.).
Considering their capabilities within and outside their networks, Taliban managed to rule Afghanistan for five years controlling approximately 90 % of the country. In 1994, Taliban superiority attracted the interest of Pakistan where with their well trained forces were obliged to protect open trade between Pakistan and Central Asia. They also fought successfully against the rival groups (Intelligence Resource Program, n.d.). On its part, ASG has its base from Middle East, where they to have participated in the war in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion.
Both groups have the same motive. They are fighting to publicize Islamic religion in a radicalized way. For instance, ASG participates in kidnappings to get ransoms, assassinations, bombing, and extortion where terror is their main act to gain financially (Hayes, Brunner, & Rowen, n.d.). Taliban has their acts supporting terrorism and their inhuman treatment to women (e.g., Taliban could cut the fingertips of a female wearing fingernail polish).
The terrorist groups have their targets to organizations and nations that fight against their radical Islamic religion. Specifically, they are against the U.S. because they support Israel who is against extreme Islamism. In 2004 March, the ASG are responsible for a bombing that took place in Manila and Taliban were close associates to Al Qaeda as they offer training grounds to a group that is responsible for the September bombing in the U.S.
Moreover, countries that support radical Islamism religion are enemies of the terrorist groups who target enemy embassies, kidnap nationalities that belong to enemy nations, attack transport vessels all in the act to cause loss to their enemy. In this account, Taliban poses a great threat as it has the resources such as revenue from opium, and support from other terrorism groups like Al Qaeda where both have deeply rooted social organization in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Hayes, Brunner, & Rowen, n.d.).
From the changing technology, Tucker’s view that conventional wisdom is no longer an effective tool to fight terrorism is correct because the complex organization and networks will always be in one way or another affect decision making hence its failure hence the essential goal of defeating terrorist groups will never be achieved.
In conclusion, terrorist capabilities, motive, past and target are crucial factors to understand in order to fight terrorism effectively as the different groups always change their strategies. As many terrorist groups like ASG and Taliban have many aspects in common concerning their origin, organization and motives, new strategies needs to be established not only by the U.S. military but also by others to help in fast and effective decision making in order to defeat these radical groups.