Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. It has been with us for ages. Even in the very first century there was the Sicarji, a terrorist group based on religion operating in Palestine. The Assassins fed on hashish, terrorized the population in the eleventh century. But over the years, the face of terrorism has changed. It has become more lethal, more widespread and more difficult to control. Terrorist groups have sprung everywhere and there are too many targets. And if public places such as airports are watched over by security forces more vigilantly, the terrorist shift the focus to soft target-schools, market places, trains and buses.

The most worry some trend in modern terrorism is their brutalization. The terrorist groups are without compassion and ethical considerations. Modern terrorist are constantly devising advanced and deadly ways to terrorize their targets. Today, terrorist groups have global networks or established contact with groups in different countries. This networking not only facilitates terrorists operations but also makes the task of combating it more difficult.

The economic disaster that constant terrorist attacks are capable of wreaking on a country today can be as appalling as that brought about by war. Even the U.S.A, which is a powerful and rich nation, found it tough to cope with the economic blow inflicted by the daring 9/11 attacks. In 2004, a grenade, hurled from a passing car, exploded near a gas station in the business district of Ortigas, Manila, damaging a truck. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. In 2006, a land mine ripped through a passenger bus killing 100’s of people. The nexus between terrorist and drug barons is another alarming trend. The Shining Path in Peru is an open example of terrorist-narcotics-smuggling link.

Terrorist are today adopting mafia tactics. They exhort protection money from businessmen to fund their activities. Sometimes, ethno-political terrorist groups get succor from foreign governments which exploit the genuine or imaginary grievance of the terrorists. The modern face of terrorism can be combated only by a superior intelligence network. Indeed, intelligence is the key to decide the tactics to be employed to deal with the actual threat. The law- enforcing machinery has to gear up- think faster and anticipates the moves of the terrorist-if it wants to meet the challenge.

– Tanvi Shah

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