Top 10 Most Dangerous Terrorist Groups



Top 10 Most Dangerous Terrorist Groups

Script written by Nick Roffey

They use violence to spread terror. From Lashkar-e-Taiba, to Al-Shabaab, to the Klu Klux Klan, these terrorist organizations are truly terrifying. WatchMojo counts down ten most dangerous terrorist groups.

Special thanks to our user Jeffrey Barkdull for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Most+Dangerous+Terrorist+Groups+in+the+World.
Script written by Nick Roffey

Top 10 Most Dangerous Terrorist Groups

They use violence to spread terror. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most dangerous terrorist groups.

For this list, we’re looking at the fighting strength, past attacks, and the roles of these groups in broader conflicts, both locally and globally.

#10: Lashkar-e-Taiba

In November 2008, co-ordinated attacks plunged Mumbai into chaos. Over four days, shots and explosions rang out across the city – leaving 164 people dead and 308 wounded. The group responsible was Lashkar-e Tayyiba, whose name means “the army of the righteous” (or the “good”), a jihadist organization founded in the mid-1980s and dedicated to establishing an Islamic state and “liberating Muslims” in Indian Kashmir. To this end, their front organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, conducts humanitarian work in Pakistan, while their militants conduct terrorist attacks throughout India.Numbering several thousand, they reputedly receive funding from Saudi Arabia.

#9: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan

On a calm morning in December 2014, 6 militants from Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan scaled the walls of a Pakistani school in Peshawar and opened fire on children and staff, killing 141 people. The attack put this terrorist group, founded in 2007, in the international spotlight. An alliance of Pakistani Taliban groups in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan comprises about 25,000 fighters. While they are mostly active in Pakistan, they did also claim responsibility for a failed 2010 bombing attempt in Times Square. New leadership in 2013 left them fragmented, but still active.

#8: Al-Shabaab

This fundamentalist Islamist group based in Somalia formed in the mid-2000s. With roughly seven to nine thousand members, they currently control small rural areas in Somalia. Though they pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2012, there has reportedly been internal conflict between the two groups. In 2013 Al-Shabaab fighters opened fire in a mall in Kenya, killing at least 67 people; in 2016 they claimed responsibility for a laptop bomb that exploded in a plane. In the mid-2010s, their strength has been significantly reduced by infighting, as well as Somalian, Kenyan, and US offensives, but they remain ambitious, actively recruiting through the internet and radio. In fact, in 2017, they were blamed for a truck bomb in 2017 that killed over 350 people in Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

#7: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC)

In 2016 FARC signed a historic peace deal with the Colombian government and began disarming. But at the peak of their power – around 2007 - this communist guerrilla movement numbered some 18,000 members – roughly a quarter of which were minors. They financed their activities through kidnapping, ransom, and the illegal drug trade, leading Colombia and the U.S. to classify them as a terrorist group. President Álvaro Uribe, whose father was killed by FARC, hit them with relentless offensives from 2002-2010. As of mid-2017, FARC is disarmed and demobilized – marking the end of a conflict that’s lasted over 50 years.

#6: Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

Remember “Kony 2012”? The viral video campaign took aim at the LRA’s leader, Joseph Kony? Founded by Kony in the late 80s, this rebel Christian cult has gone on to massacre and abduct thousands of people across Central and East Africa. The group is notorious for their use of child soldiers and heinous human rights abuses, including mass rape and cutting off the body parts of prisoners. The LRA’s numbers have been reduced in the mid-2010s from around 3 thousand to a few hundred. In spite of the international interest sparked by “Kony 2012”, Joseph Kony remains at large.

#5: Ku Klux Klan

Famous for their pointy hats, burning crosses, and unrepentant racism, the KKK is a white supremacist Christian hate group based in the United States. Founded in the 1860s, they group was revived in 1915 and again in the mid-1940s. In the late nineteenth century, the organization killed thousands of African-Americans, and in the 1920s boasted over four MILLION members. Following World War II, the organization was revitalized in opposition to the civil rights movement, bombing black houses and murdering civil rights activists. Today, their numbers have eroded to between five and 8 thousand members, but they continue to organize and recruit – waiting for new opportunities.

#4: Taliban

A fundamentalist Sunni movement supporting strict Sharia law, the Taliban emerged during the Afghan Civil War and held power from 1996 until the U.S. invasion in 2001. Estimated to be between 35,000 to 60,000 strong, the early 21st century sees them as insurgents fighting against the current government. The Taliban committed multiple massacres during governance; as rebel fighters, they continue to target civilians as well as military personnel, often using improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers. Although the group is mostly contained within Afghanistan, they have strong ties to Al-Qaeda.

#3: Boko Haram

Boko Haram made international headlines in 2014 when they kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok, Nigeria. Soon, the hashtag “Bring Back Our Girls” had gone viral; nonetheless, many of the girls remain missing. The group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” advocates strict Sharia law and has displaced an estimated 2.3 million people, in addition to the staggering 20,000 they’ve killed. Before targeting schoolgirls, they spent years targeting teenage boys, killing and even burning them alive, sometimes using suicide bombers. In 2015, they pledged allegiance to ISIS.

#2: Al-Qaeda

The name Al-Qaeda will forever be associated with the horrifying image of the towers falling. A multinational radical Islamist group active since 1988, Al-Qaeda is a massive organization with numerous affiliates and thousands of members. Its most infamous attacks include the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings, the 9/11 attacks, and the Bali bombings the year after. Funded largely by donors in Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda is fighting for the creation of an Islamic caliphate consistent with Sharia law. Although their leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Forces in 2011, the group continues to have huge global reach and influence over various groups throughout the Middle East and Africa.

#1: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) [aka Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)]

Organized, well-funded, and well-armed, ISIS, also known as ISIL or Daesh, has torn through Syria and Iraq, killing thousands and displacing many more. A radical jihadist group, they’re known for brutal human rights violations, including well-publicized beheadings of soldiers and civilians. Estimates of their strength range wildly from tens of thousands to over two hundred thousand. They’re well funded, with an estimated two billion U.S. dollars in assets, and they allegedly generate a further three million daily selling oil. Operating in at least eighteen countries, ISIS has declared itself an Islamic Caliphate. It’s difficult to know how many people they’ve killed, but it’s likely many thousands – mostly other Muslims. Although they lost significant ground in 2017, they remain dangerous and well funded.