List of Terrorist Groups Cited By America As the Most Militant

The Nation (Kenya), Nov. 29, 2002

The following is a list of terrorist groups released by the US government’s Office of the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism on April 30 last year.

It includes 29 groups currently designated by the Secretary of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). The designations carry legal consequences: It is unlawful to provide funds or other material support to an FTO; representatives and certain members of an FTO can be denied visas or excluded from the US; US financial institutions must block funds FTOs and their agents and must report the blockage to the US Department of the Treasury.

Designated FTOs include: The Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO), also known as Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September, and Revolutionary Organisation of Socialist Muslims.

It split from Palestinian Liberation Organisation in 1974, and has received considerable support, including safe haven, training, logistics, and financial aid from Iraq, Libya, and Syria (until 1987).

Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the smallest and most radical of the Islamic separatist groups operating in the southern Philippines.

Armed Islamic Group (GIA), an Islamic extremist group, that aims to overthrow the secular Algerian regime and replace it with an Islamic state.

The list is longer.

Aum Supreme Truth (Aum), also known as Aum Shinrikyo, Aleph, a religious cult established in 1987 by Shoko Asahara, the Aum aimed to take over Japan, then the world.

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) a.k.a. Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna. It was started in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles in parts of Spain.

Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG), the largest Egyptian militant group, active since the late 1970s.

HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement), established in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It aims at pursuing the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel.

Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), an Islamic militant group formerly known as the Harakat al-Ansar. It is based in Pakistan operating primarily in Kashmir.

Hizballah (Party of God) a.k.a. Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice Organization, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, and Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical Shia group formed in Lebanon; dedicated to increasing its political power in Lebanon and opposing Israel and the Middle East peace negotiations.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). It receives support from other Islamic extremist groups in Central and South Asia. IMU leadership broadcasts statements over Iranian radio.

Japanese Red Army (JRA) a.k.a. Anti-Imperialist International Brigade (AIIB), an international terrorist group formed around 1970 after breaking away from Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction.

Al-Jihad a.k.a. Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jihad Group, Islamic Jihad, an Egyptian Islamic extremist group active since the late 1970s. Close partner of Osama Bin Ladin’s al-Qaeda organization.

Kach and Kahane Chai, that aims at restoring the biblical state of Israel.

Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) founded in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group primarily composed of Turkish Kurds. Turkish authorities captured Chairman Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya in early 1999.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Established in 1976, by the Tamil group in Sri Lanka.

Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO) a.k.a. The National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA, the militant wing of the MEK), the People’s Mujahidin of Iran (PMOI), National Council of Resistance (NCR), Muslim Iranian Student’s Society (front organization used to garner financial support). It was started in the 1960s by the college-educated children of Iranian merchants to counter what it perceived as excessive Western influence in the Shah’s regime.

National Liberation Army (ELN)–Colombia, a Marxist insurgent group formed in 1965 by urban intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

The Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ). It sprung from among militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s. Committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel through holy war.

Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), it broke away from the PFLP-GC in mid-1970s but later split again into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), a break-away from the PFLP in 1968, claiming it wanted to focus more on fighting and less on politics. Violently opposed to Arafat’s PLO.

Al-Qaida. It was established by Usama Bin Ladin in the late 1980s to bring together Arabs who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet invasion. It aims at establishing a pan-Islamic Caliphate throughout the world.

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), established in 1964 as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party.

Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November ) – a radical leftist group established in 1975 and named for the student uprising in Greece in November 1973 that protested the military regime.

Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) a.k.a. Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left), Dev Sol- Originally formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, a splinter faction of the Turkish People’s Liberation Party/Front. Renamed in 1994 after factional infighting, it espouses a Marxist ideology and is virulently anti-US and anti-NATO.

Revolutionary People’s Struggle (ELA) – an extreme leftist group that developed from opposition to the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974. Formed in 1971.

Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path, or SL) – was formed by former university professor Abimael Guzman in the late 1960s. It operates within Peru.

Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), a traditional Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement formed in 1983 from remnants of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left, a Peruvian insurgent group active in the 1960s. Aims to establish a Marxist regime.

Other Terrorist Groups

Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB), a breakaway urban hit squad of the Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army, was formed in the mid-1980s.

Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) a.k.a. Interahamwe, Former Armed Forces (ex-FAR). The FAR was the army of the Rwandan Hutu regime that carried out the genocide of 500,000 or more Tutsis and regime opponents in 1994.

Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) a.k.a. Continuity Army Council- a radical terrorist splinter group formed in 1994 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein (RSF), a political organization dedicated to the reunification of Ireland and to forcing British troops from Northern Ireland. RSF formed after the Irish Republican Army announced a cease-fire in September 1994.

First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO) or Grupo de Resistencia Anti-Fascista Premero de Octubre-Formed in 1975 as the armed wing of the illegal Communist Party of Spain of the Franco era. Advocating the overthrow of the Spanish Government and replacement with a Marxist-Leninist regime.

Irish Republican Army (IRA) a.k.a. Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), the Provos-Formed in 1969 as clandestine armed wing of Sinn Fein, a legal political movement dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland.

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) (Army of Mohammed) – an Islamist group based in Pakistan.

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous), an armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI) — a Sunni anti-US missionary organization formed in 1989.

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), a group formed in 1996 as a faction of the mainstream loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). It sought to prevent a political settlement with Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland.

New People’s Army (NPA) – is the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) formed in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government.

Orange Volunteers (OV) – It seeks to prevent a political settlement with Irish nationalists by attacking Catholic civilian interests in Northern Ireland.

People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) – formed in 1996 as a community anticrime group fighting drugs and violence in the Cape Flats section of Cape Town, South Africa.

Real IRA (RIRA) a.k.a. True IRA – Formed in 1998 as clandestine armed wing of the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, a “political pressure group” dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland.

Red Hand Defenders (RHD) – an extremist terrorist group composed largely of Protestant hardliners that seeks to prevent a political settlement with Irish nationalists by attacking Catholic civilian interests in Northern Ireland.

Revolutionary United Front (RUF) – an effective guerrilla seeking to topple the current government of Sierra Leone and to retain control of the lucrative diamond-producing regions of the country.

United Self-Defense Forces/Group of Colombia (AUC – Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia) – an umbrella organization formed in 1997 to consolidate most local and regional paramilitary groups each with the mission to protect economic interests and combat insurgents locally.

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)

Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday December 1, 2002.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at