Top 10 Biggest Terrorist Groups in the World

The world today is developing and evolving at a great speed. But, much to our dismay, not all development has been good. There are two biggest global threats that are looming large, more than ever before, environmental change and terrorism. While the ggovernments across the globe are making efforts to tackle these issues with utmost urgency, somehow, it seems that it is not enough. Talking about terrorism, its etymological root is a French word “terrorisme” meaning “to frighten”. Terrorism works on radicalisation  of ideologies, religious and non-religious alike, so as to achieve ecrtain motives, mainly political supremacy. There are many conspiracy theories that are floating in the different factions of the world, and each suggests a different logical explanation to the terrorist activities and the functioning of terrorist groups. Owing to that, some of the groups that we have mentioned in the following list might not be regarded by many as terrorist groups in their region, but we have tried to include the biggest terrorist groups with an objective lens. Read on to find out more about them.

top 10 biggest terrorist groups in the world
10. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan

TTP is one of the most influential Islamist groups active in Pakistan and also in some parts of Afghanistan. They claim to be fighting for Sharia Islamic Law and unlike most terror groups who operate under the garb of Non-state actors, TTP aims to establish a legitimate government in Pakistan and neighboring countries. Formed in 2007, TTP has since undertaken a number of attacks worldwide, most prominent of them being an attempt at suicide bombing in Times Square(2010). It is being headed by Mullah Fazalullah since 2014.

9. Haqqani Network

Headed by Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son, Haqqani Network is a group of insurgents mainly operating in Afghanistan. Ideologically inclined with the dominant group in the region i.e. Taliban, Haqqani network aims to completely remove the western influence from Afghan region and establish a Sharia based national law in Afghanistan. It is also noteworthy that the recent Joint statement by Indo-US government specifically mentions joint action against Haqqani network, indicating the threat that exists to both the countries from this organization.

8. Indian Mujahideen

Indian Mujahideen was identified as a separate terror group in 2008 by the Indian government and was thought to be born out of the remains of another such organization, SIMI(Students’ Islamic Movements of India). The group is different in the sense that it usually functions in civilian areas with its members clandestinely operating from within the cities and residential areas. Islamic Fundamentalism ideology based IM has taken responsibility for almost half of recent terrorist bombings in Indian cities such as 2013 Bodhgaya blasts, 2011 Mumbai blasts and 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts. Recently arrested terrorist, Yasin Bhatkal, belongs to this group.

7. Al-Shabab

Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen or popularly known as Al-Shabab, is an African terrorist group that specializes in Jihadist attacks all over the world. Till 2012, Al-Shabab was a part of Al-Qaeda when it couldn’t sustain its relations with the group and got separated. With a troop strength of more than 8000, Al-Shabab is a cause of worry for most of the East African countries as it mostly operates from rural areas which makes it very difficult to track its members. Headed by Ahmed Umar, Al-Shabab is also known to have a prominent twitter presence where it radicalizes youth from all over the world to join its cause and be a part of its ranks.

6. Lashkar-E-Taiba

Lashkar-E-Taiba is known to most Indians after it carried out the cowardly act of attacking several places in India such as Parliament attack of 2001 and Mumbai attack on November 26th, 2008. Many experts believe that LeT has links with the security agencies of several countries and it is from these agencies that it gets its resources, both financial and non-financial. The group has vowed to “liberate” the Muslims of Kashmir from Indian Territory and has been working for the same for past 2 decades. Headed by the infamous Hafiz Saeed, it is perhaps the most wanted terrorist group as far as the Indian government is concerned.

5. Taliban

What irony it is that one of the most dangerous terrorist groups of the world has a name which literally translates to “students”! The Afghanistan-based terrorist group initially held power in Afghanistan and gained much backlash from the citizens of the country and people across the world for brutal enforcement of the sharia law which is allegedly highly regressive for minorities. It is said that the Al-Qaeda has repeatedly aided Taliban, in terms of money and muscle power. Mullah Mohammed Omar was the major backbone of the group, after whose death in 2013, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor is the one leading Taliban.

4. Boko Haram

Boko Haram is a terrorist groupwhich operates from northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram was considered to be a sister organisation of Al Qaeda up until 2015 when the leader Abubakar Shekau announced its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The group kidnapped over 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014 and faced opposition on a mass level from all over the world. Boko Haram promotes the idea that it is forbidden for Muslims to indulge in any social or political activity which emanates from the Western society.

3. Hezbollah

Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist militant group based in Lebanon. Their anti-semetic sentiments as well as Shi’i radicalism are what have made this group a breeding ground for all sorts of terrorist activities. Whether the organisation’s alias is Islamic Jihad Organisation or not is largely disputed. Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel embassy in London 1994 and the bombing of US embassies in 1998 are some of the major terrorist attacks carried out by them. Hezbollah’s power and strength can be gauged by the simple fact that its paramilitary wing is supposedly more powerful than the Lebanon army.

2. Al-Qaeda

This one here has caused mess around the world and there is no second thoughts about that. Al-Qaeda is based in Pakistan and is infamous for the 9/11 attacks. Their dreadful leader Osama Bin Laden was killed by the US forces recently in 2011. Up until his death, Laden was declared as the most wanted terrorist of the world. It is a Sunni Islamist group and has the objective of eradicating all western influence form Muslim countries and establishing a caliphate that would rule overall the Muslims of the world. Since the death of Laden, the group is being led by Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri.

1. ISIS or Da’esh

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) or Da’esh, a group which has caused menace all around the world, has caught lives of many in their devilish tentacles. Run under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group rather claims Baghdadi to be the caliphate, an aspect which is criticised by major Muslim organisations and groups across the globe. The presence of mind boggling numbers of sex slaves and child soldiers in the organisation is alarming and has caused furor in the human rights groups worldwide. The recent Paris attacks were one of the major killings that the ISIS has carried out in recent times.


The issue at hand is to recognise the root cause of terrorism and to ponder upon the strategies that are used to tackle the menace of terrorism. Are guns the only solution to stop terrorism? Food for thought.

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Ayushi Khemka

  • Miguel

    I saw another top ten list showing to the biggest terrorist organisation and it involved only two Islamic organisations. You are clearly a bigot anti Islamist. Nice try numpty.