news·3 min read

International Terrorism: Different groups explained

international terrorism
Jul 31, 2017

The story

What names should I know?


...The Godfather of terror groups.

Founded by Osama bin Laden

in the late ‘80s, and responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Its goals

are to install Islamic governments, and get rid of any Western influence along the way. Post 9/11, the West fought back -- and since then,

most of al-Qaeda’s


...Afghanistan has 99 problems and the Taliban is number one. This is the Islamist extremist group that basically ran Afghanistan in the 90s and that -- bonus! --

the CIA actually once backed

. It also provided a safe-haven to al-Qaeda, which is why the US took the group down after the 9/11 attacks. Since then, the

Taliban has re-grouped

in rural Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan, where it enforces lovely things like

no school for women

AQAP’s affiliates in

Yemen and Saudi Arabia

got married and called themselves al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- or AQAP. They claimed responsibility for the 2015 terror

attack on Charlie Hebdo

in Paris and are considered

one of the biggest threats

to the West. Plus they're taking advantage of

Yemen’s civil war

al-Shabab’s Somali cousins. You know them as the ones responsible for several large attacks in the past few years. They orchestrated a

mall attack in Kenya’s capital

in 2013, and the 2015 attack that killed 148 people on a college campus there. In 2016, they

stormed a Kenyan base

in Somalia, reportedly killing 180. Al-Shabab’s MO? Enforcing Islam, while killing others along the way -- in the college attack, the gunmen

targeted Christians

al-Nusra Front

...A Syrian rebel group that got together to

fight President Bashar al-Assad

. It’s also pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda. They’re in the

awkward position


...or ISIL or IS. It’s the P. Diddy of terror groups, always changing to a worse name. And they're responsible for many of the terrorist

attacks against the West

in recent years. Al-Qaeda decided in 2014 that it was

too extreme

to hang out with. So there’s that. The group spent a lot of time grabbing territory across the Mideast, terrorizing minorities, and beheading Westerners, all while attempting to build an Islamic State. This led the US and friends to

move in with airstrikes

. A few years later, the war isn't over yet, but

ISIS is losing ground

Boko Haram

...Attention hogs based in Nigeria. The group killed

more than 10,000

people there in 2015. It’s also infamous for kidnapping

more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls

. And they've pledged allegiance to ISIS. The Nigerian gov has had trouble fighting the group. Like that time their air force

accidentally targeted


...A Palestinian militant group that doubles as a political party. It controlled the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory, for years. The group’s platform?

Destroy Israel

, and establish a Palestinian state. No surprise, this hasn’t gone over well with Israel. The two have a long history of violence and war. Iran’s been Hamas's longtime sugar daddy, despite a

falling out


...All roads lead to Iran with this Lebanon-based group.

Iran backs Syria’s President Assad


so Hezbollah does too

. Iran wants Israel gone,

so Hezbollah does too

Haqqani Network

...They’re the Sopranos of terrorism -- a


insurgent group with ties to Afghanistan

and Pakistan

Khorasan Group

...The al-Qaeda All Stars tour that operates

out of Syria

. It’s considered a big, scary deal because the group is focused on

recruiting Westerners


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