Although it might seem like a modern phenomenon, terrorism, or the unlawful use of intentional violence to achieve political aims (especially against civilians) can be arguably as old as civilization itself. And while we have become all too familiar with groups like the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS or even the I.R.A in the 20th and 21st century, sadly, there are a lot more groups out there that would wish nothing more than to destroy America and its allies.
Over the past few decades with the rise of 24 hour cable news and the Internet, we have become more aware of these dangerous groups. However, there are still some terrorist organizations that are not as mainstream as they should be. So, to keep you informed, we have 5 groups you’ve most likely not heard of yet.
1. ForÃ§as Armadas RevolucionÃ¡rias da ColÃ´mbia (FARC)
The first terrorist group is the closest to home as they operate in Colombia and the oldest group on our list. Found by peasant farmer Manuel Marulanda Vélez (real name Pedro Antonio Marín Marín) in 1964 in response to the Colombian military attacking the community of Marquetalia to destroy the communist groups that had sprung up in the area.
FARC has long claimed that they are just trying to protect the interests of poor farmers and fights against the privatization of the country’s natural resources. However, the means they have chosen to fund these actions, including illegal mining, kidnapping, trafficking, and extortion, and the hundreds of bombings and killings that have been committed throughout Colombia, have been recognized as a terrorist group since their earliest days.
2. The Lord’s Resistance Army
Operating mainly in northern Uganda, but also in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is led by the self-declared prophet Joseph Kony. Originally founded to unify Uganda through peace and prosperity, it quickly devolved into something more terrifying.
Although they espoused a political ideology that seeks self-determination by the Acholi people, who largely populate the area, many experts argue that the LRA is not motivated by any identifiable political agenda. Instead, they have been accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, child sex slavery, and recruitment of child soldiers.
Operating throughout Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda, this East African terrorist group gained international notoriety in 2013 when they carried out a devastating attack on innocent civilians at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 67 and injuring around 200 people. They followed that up two years later by attacking a Kenyan university, killing 148 students.
Their ‘mission’ is to rid Somalia of all foreign forces by whatever means necessary, most predominantly through deadly car attacks and suicide bombings. In order to fund their terrorism and establish their Islamic government, they hold people to ransom, piracy, illegal trade, and other criminal actions.
Established back in 1987 and currently occupying regions in India and Pakistan, you may not be familiar with the group or its founders Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam and Zafar Iqbal, you will certainly be familiar with the man who provided the money to set the group up, Osama bin Laden. Lashkar-e-Taiba can be translated to Army of the Good, Army of the Righteous, or Army of the Pure.
However, they are neither good nor righteous in their mission to establish an Islamic state in Southeast Asia. They are one of the most violent terrorist groups in the world and have a long laundry list of atrocities including the 2001 Indian Parliament attack which resulted in 12 deaths, the 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai in 2008 where 174 people died and more than 300 were injured and most recently the Pulwama attack in 2019 that saw a vehicle-borne suicide bomber kill 40 Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel.
With the events in Afghanistan, the Taliban have become a familiar name to American audiences. However, many people don’t know that there is a ‘version’ of the Taliban that operates along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border whose aim is to not only overthrow the Pakistani government but determined to attack the West, and almost did in 2010 when they attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square..
Founded in 2007 by a Pakistani militant called Baitullah Mehsud, is comprised of 13 Islamist radical groups. They are believed to be responsible for the assassination of twice Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto in 2007. Mehsud himself would be assassinated by a US drone strike in 2009, but that would not be the end of the group as he was replaced by Mullah Fazlullah who is equally and openly anti-Western.